Skyrora’s ‘Space Tug’ Gives Space Sustainability Dream A Lift
SKYRORA has revealed it has conducted successful trials of a ‘space tug’ which can play a key part in ensuring the UK becomes a world leader in tackling the issue of space junk. The Scottish-based rocket development company believes the Orbit Transfer Vehicle – part of its Skyrora XL rocket due to launch in 2023 - could clear debris, reposition satellites and remove defunct satellites from orbit. In the week that the UK and UN sign a historical agreement on space sustainability, Edinburgh based Skyrora have thrown their support around the initiative. The company recently showed their own commitment towards a sustainable space industry with the launch of their space tug, which is one of many initiatives that will allow the government to meet its goals. Its announcement comes after a directive was signed this week between the UK Science Minister and the UN to agree a new approach to sustainability in space, as well as equipping authorities with the power to act against firms responsible for creating space junk. The agreement commits the UK government to a series of events and outreach efforts, ultimately aimed at promoting the Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities (LTS Guidelines). Those guidelines ensure “the conduct of space activities indefinitely into the future”, an ability now under threat from the growing cloud of space debris.
ESA satellite proves critical in the dark matter pursuit
Data from ESA’s Gaia satellite has formed the basis for a host of previously unidentified stars, offering fresh insight into dark matter and galactic cannibalism. Writing in Nature Astronomy, researchers from the UK, US and Australia cited data from the Gaia programme when making the case for a dark matter halo surrounding the Tucana II ultrafaint dwarf galaxy. Accompanied by data from the Australian National University SkyMapper telescope, the team identified nine stars at the edge of Tucana II, demonstrating the system to be markedly more expansive than previously thought. “In order to hold onto those stars and not have them be tidally stripped by the Milky Way, Tucana II needs to have a lot of mass,” said Dr Denis Erkal of the University of Surrey.
UK-UN Sign Agreement on Space Sustainability
Efforts to safeguard sustainable use of outer space have been fortified with an agreement between the UK and the UN.The UK’s Science Minister Amanda Solloway signed the agreement on Tuesday, explaining “it’s critical that we work with our international partners to secure the continued safety and sustainability of space.”The agreement commits the UK government to a series of events and outreach efforts, ultimately aimed at promoting the Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities (LTS Guidelines).The guidelines ensure “the conduct of space activities indefinitely into the future”, an ability now under threat from the growing cloud of space debris.
Spacewalk to Install UK-built Terminal on International Space Station
Two NASA astronauts took part in a spacewalk in order to mount a British piece of technology on the International Space Station (ISS), marking the first significant technological contribution made by the United Kingdom to the spacecraft. Columbus Ka-band Terminal (COLKa) Almost one year ago, on 15th of February 2020, the Columbus Ka-band Terminal (COLKa) system was launched onboard the NG-13 Commercial Resupply Mission towards the International Space Station.
Application Powered by Satellites to Identify City-Wide Loneliness Levels in the UK
Leeds City Council has adopted the government-backed application which aims to confront levels of loneliness through access to essential support services for the most vulnerable and socially isolated.
Using Satellites to Detect Elephants from Orbit
Researchers at the University of Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and Machine Learning Research Group, have combined satellite imagery with artificial intelligence capabilities, in order to detect and count African elephants (Loxodonta africana).