Alderman William Russell, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, addresses the virtual launch of the Centre, which will be a major hub for space-related fields.

By Mr John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer), Published

City, University of London’s newest research centre, the London Space Innovation Centre (LSIC) was launched on March 3rd.

The new Centre will be a major hub for coordinating and promoting multidisciplinary research, education and enterprise projects in space-related fields and will be a focus of collaboration between academia, industry, and the public sector with an accent on connecting the space sector in London with other sectors and industries.

In his keynote address, Lord Mayor of the City of London, The Right Honourable Alderman William Russell, said he was pleased both as City’s Rector and Lord Mayor, to support the launch of the Centre. He added that “the Centre will be a huge asset to London and the UK as a whole, placing us at the forefront of academia, education and enterprise in the field of space technology. It will be a true star of the City”.

Also giving a keynote address, City’s President, Professor Sir Paul Curran traced the development of aeronautical engineering education at City. In 1909, then called the Northampton Institute, City launched the world’s first aeronautical engineering course. Sir Paul is a former NASA research scientist and advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA).

He also spoke about Russian émigré, Professor Grigori Tokaty, who was a key person in the history of space studies at City’s later incarnation as the College of Advanced Technology. Professor Tokaty taught and researched in City’s erstwhile Department of Aeronautics and Space Technology and worked with NASA during the 1960s.

Sir Paul also mentioned 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.

In the speech, Sir Paul also outlined City’s current strengths in the field and its aspirations for the future:

Today City continues to be an aerospace leader, with major contributions on robotics, autonomous systems, radar, signal processing and aerospace safety. Two current examples are the development of OBAR, an AI based autonomous refuelling system, and PRO-ACT, a robotic system for use on other planets. The London Space Innovation Centre will build on our great history and current activities to become a major hub for co-ordinating and promoting multi-disciplinary research, education and enterprise projects in space related fields.

Other keynote speakers at the launch event chaired by LSIC Managing Director, Ehsan Razavizadeh, were: Professor Rajkumar Roy, SCMSE Dean; Dr Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency; Nick Shave, Chair of UKSpace; Professor Abdulnaser Sayma, LSIC Director; Stuart Martin - CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult; Richard Franklin, Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space in the UK; Professor Nabil Aouf, LSIC Director; Dr Samir Bennani Senior Advisor at the European Space Agency; Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer of Inmarsat; Cornelius Dennehy, Technical Fellow for GN&C at the NASA Engineering and Safety Centre (Goddard Space Centre); and Professor Charles Baden-Fuller, Leader of Strategy Group, City Business School.

The event also included a panel discussion about an interdisciplinary approach to the space sector, chaired by LSIC management team member, Professor David Stupples, with discussants: Professor Richard Ashcroft (Deputy Dean of the City Law School); Dr James Endicott (Academic Liaison Lead, Space Academic Network); Dr Lorna Ryan (Research Manager, School of Arts and Social Sciences); Ralph Wilkins (Innovation Partner for London at the Defence and Security Accelerator) and Professor Michael Tamvakis, (City Business School).