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About City

London Space Institute (LSI)

The London Space Institute was established at City, University of London in 2020. It acts as a hub for coordinating and promoting multidisciplinary research, education, and enterprise projects in space-related fields. It also facilitates collaboration between academia, industry, and the public sector with a focus on connecting the space sector in London with other sectors and industries.

Find more up to date projects and information here

The global space sector is expected to continue growing strongly with estimates forecasting $1 trillion in annual revenue by 2040. The sector has achieved remarkable progress in relatively short period of time and is now an essential part of the engine of the global economy. Space Technology is fundamental to all aspects of everyday life and it has revolutionised capabilities in areas such as climate observation, communication, healthcare, land management, supply chain management, broadcasting, logistics, transportation, navigation, national security, and soon, tourism.

Space is a great British success story. Space-related organisations are growing in number and generating large economic output. The sector currently has 6.5% of the global space market and has set itself the target of 10% by 2030. This target requires at least 30,000 new jobs in the sector and currently employs approximately 38,000 persons, supporting approximately £350 billion of UK GDP.

The space sector is marked by high productivity, representing about 2.7 times the national average. The UK government has already pledged significant investment in the sector due to its profound importance in buttressing social and economic wellbeing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired the first meeting of the recently established National Space Council.

City, University of London’s interdisciplinary London Space Institute: A brief history

City, University of London has a very rich history in aeronautics, space and space travel.

Its first foray into aerospace goes back to 1909 when its predecessor, the Northampton Institute, started classes in Aeronautics. Renowned engineer and industrialist, Sir Frederick Handley Page - after whom City’s aeronautical laboratory is named - arrived as a lecturer in 1910.

An important moment in City’s academic journey in space-related studies came in 1957, when its predecessor, the Northampton Institute, was designated the Northampton College of Advanced Technology (CAT) during a Cold War era characterised by febrile competition to develop and launch rockets into space.

A key person in the history of space studies at CAT, and its later incarnation as City University, was Russian émigré, Professor Grigori Tokaty, who taught and researched in the Department of Aeronautics and Space Technology.

Professor Tokaty’s career involved developing aeronautical technology for the then USSR and the USA. He worked with the United States’ National Air & Space Administration (NASA) during the 1960s.

Indeed, it was Professor Tokaty who facilitated the memorable visit of astronauts David Scott, Alfred Worden and James Irwin to City University in 1971. They were members of the Apollo 15 mission who landed on the Moon. They presented then Vice-Chancellor Sir James Sharp Tait with a piece of the heat shield from the Apollo 15 command module and a photograph of the Lunar Roving Vehicle which are kept at City.

Current President of City, Professor Sir Paul Curran, is a former NASA research scientist and advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA). Sir Paul's award-winning work in ecological Earth observation, involving the use of satellite sensors to monitor the environment, is published widely. With a focus on climate change, his most recent research involved the estimation of terrestrial chlorophyll content at regional scales. Appointed to the Chair in Physical Geography at the University of Swansea in 1990 Sir Paul had previously held a research post with the NASA Ames Research Center in California, academic posts at the Universities of Sheffield and Reading and a visiting academic post at the University of New South Wales.

Sir Paul is a recipient of the Remote Sensing Society's Gold Medal and has received achievement awards from the Royal Geographical Society, NASA, ESA and the International Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing and Honorary Doctorates from Grand École ESCP, Paris and Peter the Great University, St Petersburg, Russia. Her Majesty, The Queen, approved the award of the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, for his 'international development of geographical science' and he is a Freeman of the City of London.

City’s historical and recognised research strengths in Aeronautical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Artificial Intelligence give a considerable boost to the London Space Institute’s academic profile.