Headlines > News > Russian Space Agency set to take-off in UK

Russian Space Agency set to take-off in UK

Published by Matt on Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:35 pm via: STFC
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Collaborations between UK and Russian space scientists and engineers could be on the horizon following a visit to the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC’s) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, by the Russian Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Centre for Ground-Based Space Infrastructure” (TsENKI) and representatives of the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos.

The seven strong delegation visited the Oxfordshire laboratory on Wednesday 9 December which helped to build relationships with some of the UK’s leading research organisations. The visit was initiated under the scope of a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU) signed by TsENKI and the STFC to enhance the capabilities of UK and Russian space research through the exchange and co-operation with ‘centres-of- excellence’. It closely follows the announcement in July by Lord Drayson, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation that the European Space Agency (ESA) is to establish a facility at Harwell – a first for the UK.



The visit also gave an insight into the on-site facilities that the STFC and Harwell Science and Innovation Campus have to offer. The representatives spent a second day at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) attending the 5th Appleton Conference (10 December) where leading figures discussed the very latest developments in current and future space activities.

Harwell is being developed into a world-leading centre for science and innovation as part of a joint venture between global property group Goodman, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the STFC. Approximately 4,500 people are currently employed in 100 organisations on the campus.

Alexandre Fadeen, Director General, TsENKI said:

“We are very pleased to have signed the MOU which we believe will strengthen relations with STFC and maximise the potential for international collaboration within space exploration. We look forward to working more closely with STFC in the future.”

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the Science and Technology Facilities Council said; “The visit to Rutherford Appleton Laboratory by the Russian delegates and subsequent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between STFC and TsENKI is a hugely important step, building on the recent opening of the ESA centre at Harwell and further developing the campus as an internationally recognised centre of excellence for space science”.

Dr. Sally Ann Forsyth from Goodman, the development partner for Harwell, said: “For Harwell to draw this international delegation reinforces its reputation as a world-leading location for space science and technology. It enabled us to showcase the outstanding facilities we have in a setting that fosters open innovation and collaboration between businesses, research organisations and academia, and continues to attract interest from both start-up and global research companies”.

The delegation was also invited to tour Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s Space Science and Technology Department which is the largest in Europe. It is from here that spacecraft instruments such as MIRI, one of the instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope, have undergone thermal calibration, and that flagship missions such as SOHO are commanded.

Future investment at Harwell will encompass fundamental scientific research and the development of property, facilities and local infrastructure. A minimum of 100,000 square metres of laboratory, high technology industrial and office accommodation will be developed in the first phase of the project. Up to 5,000 high value knowledge-based jobs are also expected to be created.

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