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Weekly UK Space News Roundup 21st February 2021

European Space Agency Announce further Astronaut Recruitment


The United Kingdom is a member state of the European Space Agency, which is looking to hire 6 full-time astronauts and up to 20 reserve astronauts from March this year. Incredibly, the opportunity has been opened up to physically disabled people with lower limb abnormalities or a short stature to apply in order to conduct a feasibility study on training so-called 'Parastronauts'.

It is a very small step towards true equality in space, but an important one, supported by Italian Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who says humans did not evolve for space travel. In space we are all disabled and we are enabled only by the technology that we take to space with us.

Recruitment will open on 31st March 2021 and for full details on the application process and eligibility check out the 31 page briefing pack that we posted to our LinkedIn.


Skyrora take on Graduate Placement positions

Skyrora has accepted two new graduate placements to work on a number of upcoming missions including the Skylark Micro, which successfully launched for the first time in Iceland back in 2020.

The students, David King and Bethany Taylor will experience a broad range of activities at the space-launch company based in Edinburgh, Scotland and join a UK team of approximately 2 passionate professions from across all sorts of fields and backgrounds.

If you are a student, or a professional with a different background from the standard STEM fields, you could still find yourself working alongside David, Bethany and the team in the UK Space Industry, which has roles spanning the entire corporate spectrum from legal teams, to corporate governance and public relations. The only true bar to entry is that people without an interest in Space need not apply.


NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully land Rover on Mars

The Perseverance Rover, carrying the Ingenuity Test helicopter landed safely on the surface of Mars on Thursday night at about 9pm.

For the first time ever, NASA was able to record a High Definition stop-motion video of the final descent and landing with sound, thanks to two commercial off-the-shelf microphones attached to the Rover, and this video is expected to complete being beamed home from Mars in the next couple of days!

In the meantime, a fake viral video has been circulating with sound, which is a shame. Hopefully you didn't get caught out.


NASA prepares for 'Above the cloud' computing, as they place their second super-computer on the ISS.

Hewlett Packard have produced a second computer for the International Space Station with super-computer specifications. This new hardware, launching today aboard a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply mission, will operate for up to three years on the station, providing vital AI support to experiments on the station and developing the experience and understanding of operating powerful computers on orbit ahead of constellations of satellites which are currently planned by a number of companies to provide 'above the cloud' computing resources.

As many of you know, the downlink data capacity from space is currently very limited, and the ability to process data on-orbit before sending down only useful data could massively streamline industries such as Earth Observation.

We caught up with OrbitsEdge Founder and CTO Richard Ward, who's business is in partnership with Hewlett Packard to achieve just that capability in the next couple of years. Check out that full article.



UK government announces launch of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (ARIA), a new independent research body to fund high-risk, high-reward scientific research

Breaking news from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as they announce the formation of a new government agency: Advanced Research & Invention Agency, which presumably is a United Kingdom cousin to America's DARPA.

The agency will be led by industry research leaders with the authority to select and fund cutting edge research & development, in an effort to boost UK innovation and early adoption of technologies in the space industry an beyond.


Job of the Week: PlanetLabs seek an In-House Artist

Planet Labs is a well known Earth Observation company, but as with many UK Space businesses, they don't only look for rocket scientists. Our job of the week this week, in patnership with SpaceCareers.uk a UKSEDS run website, is for an in-house artist to work full-time for this booming company. For more information, check out the SpaceCareers.uk listing here.


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Thanks for checking in, and until next time remember that every Giant Leap is set up by thousands of small steps.

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