The latest report by the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Universities Group illustrates the significant potential of its contribution to the UK space sector.
The Arc is a globally significant area between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. It is formed of five ceremonial counties: Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.
“For many, the word ‘space’ evokes images of rockets, astronauts and inter-planetary missions.But space touches our daily lives, from our satellite navigation systems and the technology that drives our mobile phones, to the entertainment that appears on our screens at home.”
The report explores how universities can work together to realise the potential of the space sector to bring growth and employment. For example, it highlights how the OU has taken expertise from high-profile missions such as the Rosetta Mission, Beagle 2, and Cassini Huygens and translated it into terrestrial applications.
An example of this is the SPRINT (Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme which makes it possible for businesses to collaborate with and gain access to space expertise and facilities at the top UK space universities. One of the many benefits of SPRINT is the broad network of specialist know-how and facilities available in one place. The OU has 12 collaborative projects in the programme so far, including projects that translate space research into other industry sectors, such as residual stress and materials characterisation (StressMap), analytical instrumentation, valve technology development, and Earth Observation for tree monitoring.
As the distinguished space scientist, OU Professor Monica Grady, put it:
"We explore space to solve problems back at earth."