Although the UK has long contributed to the design and development of commercial and military satellites, these satellites have been launched from locations outside of the UK. However, in recent years there has been a growth in the design, development and launch of so called “Smallsats”. The low mass and form factor of a Smallsat allows a consequent reduction in the size, complexity and cost of launch vehicle required. The use of a polar orbit also provides opportunities for space launches from countries whose land mass is far away from the equator… such as the UK.
At 90, William Shatner will be the oldest person to go to space tomorrow on board “New Shepard”, a reusable suborbital rocket system.
The Artemis Accords attempts to set out an agreed set of principles by which the signatories will act in developing their space programs and presence in outer space. Analysis of the limitations of the current patent framework for space based inventions and how the patent system could adapt to even better serve the needs of those working in the final frontier.
Examination of the study released by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA), on patent filing statistics within the field of cosmonautics.
Earlier this year, NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars. While the main objectives of the mission focus around astrobiology and the search for ancient Martian environments that could have supported life (and evidence of former life in these habitats), the rover is also testing out a number of new technologies.
The era of satellite based broadband has now launched in the UK, with Starlink, another project of the Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, being granted a license by Ofcom to begin a limited trial. And while Starlink may be the first, they certainly won’t be the last. A cluster of other companies have launched in this sector, each with the aim of using a constellation of (read “awful lot of”) networked satellites to provide global broadband coverage. Notable competitors include One Web, which is back to launching satellites after being rescued from bankruptcy last year by the UK government and Indian conglomerate Bharti Global, and Amazon’s Kupier Systems, to name but a few. The EU have also announced plans for their own system, following the Galileo global positioning system.
NASA is now asking the People of the World to take the cutting edge of toilets (forgive the phrase) one step further with their “Lunar Loo Challenge”, which launched last week. In doing so, NASA have offered a total of $35,000 in prize money for designs for a toilet that can work both in the microgravity of space as well as the low, but not insignificant, gravity of the lunar surface (which I’m sure you all know to be about a sixth of that on Earth).
At 1522 EDT on 30 May 2020, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in their Dragon capsule blasted off from Cape Canaveral and into low Earth orbit, propelled by the mighty Falcon-9 rocket. This was the first time a private company had sent astronauts to the International Space Station, and the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 that anyone had travelled into space from US soil.
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