Press Release

Call for More Vital Role for University of Leicester in Space Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
September 13, 2007
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Leicester academic on working Group

As one of the UK’s leading university centres of space research, the University of Leicester is expected to play a more vital role in human and robotic space exploration if the findings of a review of UK national space policy are adopted.

The review, held at the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) in York on 13th September, follows a nine month investigation by 23 independent scientists, industrialists and educators from around the country.

The report calls for “a strategic approach to space activities” that the committee feels is currently lacking in the UK.  

This could result in humans and robots working together on the surface of the moon, and probes venturing out across the galaxy, which would give scientists an even clearer understanding of the universe.

One of the members of the working group, Ken Pounds, Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester, commented:   “I strongly support the review’s aims.   I believe in particular that a British Astronaut Corps could do much to excite children’s interests in science and engineering.  

“Taking part in an international programme of space exploration will also provide exciting new challenges to industry and raise national morale.

“The University of Leicester could anticipate a major role in training the graduate scientists and engineers to support an enhanced UK Space programme.”

The report says, “We believe this will generate new scientific knowledge, increase excitement for science and technology in the young to help build the workforce of the future, and provide a grand challenge to invigorate the UK economy.”

The 98 page report continues:   “Participation in the ‘grand challenge’ of space exploration provides key opportunities for the UK to shape and participate fully in programmes of space science, build on its history of excellence in science, technology and innovation, form valuable new collaborations with international partners.”

In the past Britain has not been enthusiastic about the idea of UK manned space flights because of the huge costs involved. Britain’s have flown on the US space shuttle before, but no astronauts have ever flown on a British mission.

SpaceRef staff editor.