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The University of Southampton

Rocket scientists splash down in Southampton

Published: 19 November 2008

Talented students with ambitions to lead the next generation of Space engineers are gathering in Southampton this weekend (22 - 23 November) for the 20th annual conference of UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS).

A national and international audience of students and Space enthusiasts will attend the conference, which is being organised and hosted by the University of Southampton, where astronautics has been taught since 1958, the year after the first-ever satellite Sputnik 1 was launched.

Leading figures from the UK Space community are speaking at the event, including Dr Stuart Eves of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, Dr Ian Crawford, Senior Lecturer in Planetary Science at Birkbeck College, London, and Matt Whyndham of the University College London/Mullard Space Science Observatory.

The keynote speech on human space endeavour in the 21st century will be delivered by University of Southampton reader in spacecraft engineering Dr Graham Swinerd, who last week published a popular science book 'How Spacecraft fly: spaceflight without formulae'.

The event will cover subjects such as robotic and human exploration of the Moon and Mars, space science and instrumentation, and the development of small satellites.

Dr Swinerd comments: "We are delighted to host this year's conference which is an essential event for students interested in Space and a career in the Space industry.

"It's especially appropriate as Southampton is a world leader in space research, as well as providing professional development courses in spacecraft system design to around 150 industrial and European Space Agency engineers each year," he adds.
The University's School of Engineering Sciences runs the only undergraduate course in the UK on "rocket science" - the 'Space Systems Engineering' degree programme covers the design and operation of spacecraft, including launch vehicles, satellites, space stations and deep space probes.

Southampton projects fly regularly in Space: most recently in February this year, a flight instrument designed and developed by research students went into orbit on the space shuttle Atlantis. The Southampton Transient Oxygen and Radiation Monitor (STORM) instrument is flying on the International Space Station as part of an experiment to measure how the hostile space environment affects materials used to construct spacecraft.

To find out more about the University's Space Systems Engineering course, visit:

A full UKSEDS conference programme is available at

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