It was fun at the first ever SpaceUP UK!
It was 2 full days of action in a perfect layout at the trendy King's Cross Impact Hub, with the support of 2 friendly staff. Here is a full view of the room(s) while we eagerly awaits for everyone's arrival!
People came from all parts of Europe, as well as all parts of UK to host sessions and participate in discussions. People of NASA and of ESA came along too! The event has been reaching far and wide. On social media, it reached 2.4 million audience on earth, and a little bit beyond. In fact, SpaceUP:UK has reached slightly beyond the crust of Earth with @Astro_Alex setting the records by tweeting to us from the orbit, yes, from the orbit!
Three seem to be the magic number during the weekend! There were three rooms, three organisers, three sponsors and three breaks for each day. Incidentally, three astronauts said "Hi"s too. @Astro_Alex said hi from the Orbit and @Astro_Wheels from Mission Control, Houston. Tim Peake said Hi on Skype from Start City at Russia and we continued on for a good half an hour (+) of Q&A! It was amazing and much appreciated for Tim to take some time to talk to us during the busy training schedule in Russia. Don't forget to take the tea into space, Tim!
The days were packed and the three rooms were running at capacity. Exhibitors has created a great atmosphere and discussion areas. Unexpected conversations came up at the ISU stand when Steph and Chris started to talk about art and how it mixes with space. It was a perfect event for discussions, discussions and discussions:
Citizen Inventor had 2 modest booking at the Mars room to discuss how to kick off projects on cubesats together, as well as how to get EXOSKN, the open source space suit project off the ground. A lot of useful discussion and the rooms were packed with extra chairs on both sessions. So thank you all for contributing on the day. More importantly, please help to keep the discussion and everything else going, join us and take some actions! Watch out for upcoming events to get more projects off the ground. It's never too late to join.
Towards the end, Kate (one of the organisers) was spotted to be under the influence of a different gravity in Mars (room), or was it the effect of Pubs nights?
If you've missed all these, well, don't miss the next one! But you can still catch a glimpse of SpaceUP:UK with regards to the schedule and topics covered at SpaceUP:UK's schedule page. Links to presentations are getting updated in time, so keep checking back over the next month or so. Media coverage will be updated there over time too, so keep polling the site.
Factory might sound like a big word and if you have joined us on our February field trip, you'd realise how office like and friendly the facility that satellite "factory" can be like! On 22nd Feb, we went to visit the Pocket Spacecaft's facility at Bristol. The train was not helping, nor was the flood, but some of us made it for a very educational day!
It must be said home of the Pocket Spacecraft is like a tucked away alternative world. To reach Pocket Spacecraft's facility, one would ask direction at the Cinema's entrance by the water side, be directed upstairs through bar and cafe, Finally through a secure corridor of the Pervasive Media Studio and you'll reach the open planned HQ.
Michael has presented to us the tips and tricks for getting satellites into space, sharing the greatest detail from his experiences on everything from regulations, details of open sourced space projects, place for souring parts to make your own cubesat, technologies for controlling landing, altitude, propulsion etc, to tools for listening to spacecrafts. And of course the process and the ambition to launching thousands of thin film Pocket Spacecrafts in an affordable way. There's no lack of detail on all topics covered, it's like a week of space symposium compressed into a day!
Regulations for spacecraft is actually very intriguing, when it is stationary, in the atmosphere and out of the atmosphere, it is considered as a different kind of instrument and are subject to different regulations! And of course, we need to ensure wherever we go in space, we leave it rather untouched and there's where the Heritage rules and Planetary protection rules comes in. Needless to say different country have different regulations too!
And of course, we visited the facility for making spacecraft. Most electronics are printed out over at a FABLAB, in the HQ, we can see:
And that is not yet the end of the day! We then learn how to listen to satellites! Listen? Yes, like tuning on your FM radio, listening to satellite is like tuning into the channel of the satellite (as oppose to BBC R6 for example). But because the signal is much weaker, the antenna and the "radio" have to be a bit more powerful - so we learnt a lot about the different types too.
In our usual style, we continued the Q&A through drinks (and a very nice dinner too, thanks!). Oh, and we had a small brainstorming around interplanetary internet on the train on our way back after dinner. Keep an eye on that space.
Looks like we are indeed starting the year by spreading around geographically - we had our field trip to ESTEC in the Netherlands on the 18th Jan. It's our first field trip, and first oversea trip too!
We received amazing hospitality at ESTEC from Robert, who has been answering every single question from all of us in great details, We absolutely love his space walk! ESTEC has been extremely generous and Robert half of the day showing us buildings that are not usually open to the public on the weekend, such as ERASMUS. Speaking of being a collaborative community, it all started and happened thanks to Brodie, one from our community (and wears the think tank hat too), and of course, the amazing team at ESTEC, especially Anja who has helped to make it all happen. Definitely love this kind of spirit and the energy on making things happen!
It was a very informative trip. We heard a lot about the facilities, the research and the technology transfer from space to other areas of application. We heard about the researches in drop tower, Zero G flights (31 cycles of drops), and the radiation exposure experiments, some of the information can be found at the Erasmus Experiment Archive. We also got to see, close-up, the scorch mark made on re-entry on the capsule and hear about the way experiments and technologies are set up for testing rover design for Mars on simulated Mars landscape. Also thrilled to discover a battery research center there - definitely something to watch out for.
There was a lot of information on the international space station in ERASMUS, while some of us entertained ourselves with walking in the European and Russian sections of the international space station, others were taking the chances to have discussions with Robert.
Just before lunch, we heard a lot more about the material experiments and the space specific material issues - like rusted metal is really harmful because rust will be flying around freely - by extension this can happen to a lot of harmful substances. Then there was also a discussion on 3D printing moon base using moon dust as materials, we saw a sample of the 3D printed building block (using not lunar soil but the experiment was guided by the properties of lunar soil), you can read more about it here.
And of course, for project/programme managers and collaboration facilitators of all sorts, there's the Concurrent Design Facilities which is a kind of hot room where decisions are evaluated and made with all experts negotiating their requirements on the spot. Meeting twice a week for 4 hours each week, the mission planning could last for 10 years.
It has also been such an amazing field trip with so many joining us from the Netherlands, let's shorten the distance across the channel!
Keep an ear on @citizeninventor on twitter, we'll sort something out for sharing photos!
Having been focusing on the low down on hands on space hacks for our last couple of events, on the 20 Nov we had a change of perspective - before we get back to hands on development and wrap up the year with "Making Interplanetary Internet": http://interplanetaryinternet.eventbrite.co.uk/).
We, together with Satellite Applications Catapult, hosted an intensive whirlwind of 6 space companies telling us about their entrepreneurial stories - the market they saw and the business they've created. To get a well rounded flavour, our speakers are from upstream (spacecrafts) and downstream (businesses that uses satellite data) space sector.
We had ping pong table at the Rainmaking Loft, which was perfect for anyone needed a warm up before the talks commence or an exercise after the pizza! We also had bean bags to cater for those who needed to relax instead.
Sam from Satellite Applications Catapult started the evening by providing an overview to the exciting growth of the space sector in the UK, followed up by Steph's quick intro to what you can do as citizen for space. In a series of lightening talks, we've cut the chase and dive straight into the exciting innovation and enablers from our speakers:
It was interesting to hear the story of how the panel entered the space industry. Citizen Inventor has been talking about bio-payload but Graham from Avanti is well ahead of us there - he already looked at sending worms to space back at school!
It was very generous for Satellite Applications Catapult and Rainmaking Loft to sponsor the pizza, beer and venue hosting. Special thanks goes to all those extra pairs of hands that have made a swift tidy up happen - so we can all go to the pub! In line with the usual Citizen Inventor style, we had our extended Q&A in the pub and some of us left the pub only when it kicked us out...
Finally, for those of us who like toys - watch this space. We're about to get some Christmas presents from Michael from Pocket Spacecraft... stay tuned!
Our magazine has arrived! Issue One is, guess what, "Space - Exploration by Citizens".
Issue One will track Space exploration and technology developments with citizen participation, mainly covering open sourced, crowd sourced, hands on Space projects and some articles on citizen as astronauts and a hint of space tourism - some pointers to the possibility for us, the citizens, to participate in Space.
Unlike a traditional magazine, this online magazine would be updated as time goes on - subscribe to this issue (button on the front page) and get updates for all things "Space - Exploration by Citizens". Or if you've got news to add, let us know (yea, collaborative effort - without you, we won't be as open)!
Our plan is to keep releasing magazines on all topics citizen science, so stay tuned via twitter @citizeninventor or via rss.