• UK astronauts set for flight on future space research mission
    Tejpaul Bhatia, Chief Revenue Officer at Axiom Space (left) and Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency. (Credit : UK Space Agency)

News & Views

UK astronauts set for flight on future space research mission

Oct 26 2023

The UK Space Agency and Houston-based Axiom Space have signed a working agreement that could see UK astronauts joining as space crew in a commercially sponsored, astronaut mission.

The announcement followed the opening of the London Stock Exchange on Oct 25th by Science Minister George Freeman, who said: "The prospect of a historic UK mission with Axiom Space has the potential to inspire a whole new generation to reach for the stars, while supporting our efforts to build one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world, so I look forward to seeing the next stage of this exploratory work develop.

“We want to put the UK at the forefront of the global race for commercial space investment, continue to support scientists and engineers to test new technologies and carry out important research and, ultimately, bring the benefits back to people and businesses across the country.”

Michael Suffredini, Axiom Space CEO, added: “Axiom Space is looking forward to working with the UK Space Agency on a future human spaceflight mission. With this agreement as the initial foundation, we will build a comprehensive mission plan in support of the UK’s national and agency objectives to advance its capabilities in space exploration and discovery. Together, we will look to harness the benefits of microgravity and help push the boundaries of innovation to advance our civilisation.”

The UK Space Agency is calling on UK universities, research institutions and industry to share their ideas for experiments and technology demonstrators which could be conducted by the crew on orbit over a two-week period.  

The UK Space Agency is also interested in ideas from UK organisations for a national space education and public engagement programme alongside the mission to highlight the diverse range of rewarding careers available in the space sector, promote STEM uptake and highlight the powerful role of space in the lives of UK citizens.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “This agreement paves the way for UK astronauts to conduct scientific research in orbit and to inspire millions of us here on Earth. It takes thousands of people to complete a crewed space mission and return the astronauts safely home, highlighting the huge variety of careers available in the UK space sector right now. There is much to do and this agreement is the springboard for the UK Space Agency, Axiom Space and the mission sponsors to assess how we best push forward the frontiers of knowledge and innovation and showcase the power of space to improve lives on Earth.” 

The UK Space Agency is working with Axiom Space on plans for a commercial mission with the full support of the European Space Agency.  

Daniel Neuenschwander, Director of Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA, said: “ESA is working on Europe’s preparation of the post-ISS era and the development of a sustainable commercial space economy in Low Earth Orbit. This unique flight will allow ESA to enhance its actions with new partnership schemes and implement together with the United Kingdom a series of research experiments, which will further deepen the knowledge on exploration in and for Europe.” 

More information online


Digital Edition

Lab Asia 31.2 April 2024

April 2024

In This Edition Chromatography Articles - Approaches to troubleshooting an SPE method for the analysis of oligonucleotides (pt i) - High-precision liquid flow processes demand full fluidic c...

View all digital editions

Events

Analiza

May 28 2024 Tel Aviv, Israel

HTC-18

May 28 2024 Leuven, Belgium

PREP 2024

May 28 2024 Philadelphia, PA, USA

CISILE 2024

May 29 2024 Beijing, China

ASMS Conference

Jun 02 2024 Anaheim, CA, USA

View all events