Mission to Make Space Safe: We’re Doing it For The Kids

Posted December 14th, 2023 Posted in Blog

What a year it’s been at Astroscale UK, as we continue on our mission to make space safe and sustainable for future generations. To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at some of the incredible moments that shaped our year…

Since we’re doing it for the kids, we thought there’s no better way to demonstrate our lifelong commitment to creating a sustainable space ecosystem than a throwback to our colleagues and their childhood dreams, which were shared on STEM day this November. 

Deputy Managing Director Sharon Parker-Lines as a child“To move forward, sometimes we have to look back.” – Sharon Parker-Lines, Deputy MD

From growing up in a small seaside town, to working in publishing and then STEM, Sharon’s journey into the space industry has been far from traditional. Her moment of clarity came when she discovered space debris is a ‘thing’, and more than that, a problem that needs to be fixed.

She may not have come from a traditional ‘STEM’ background, but her contribution to preserving and protecting the space environment is inspiring. It’s one of the things we’re most proud of here at Astroscale – our commitment to making the space industry an accessible sector to all. And we’re thrilled our 2023 Economic Impact Report, which we unveiled in October, backs up all of the hard work we’ve been doing.

Fuelling Job Creation and Innovation is just one area we’re excited to shout about – we’re supporting over 12,000 high-skilled, high-paid jobs across the UK, fostering innovation and expertise in the rapidly growing space industry. 

The report,  carried out independently by London Economics, highlighted three other impressive Astroscale stats…

Astroscale Economic Impact infographic

The statistics here really speak for themselves; we’re here to make Big Changes and shake up the space industry. We’re dedicated to making space safe and sustainable, positioning the UK as world leaders in doing so, whilst bringing huge value economically, socially and environmentally to the nation.

Managing Director Nick Shave as a child“My 30-year journey in the space sector has been a blast, filled with many challenges and opportunities.” – Nick Shave, UK MD

We’re really proud of the work we’ve achieved this year for COSMIC, our UK Active Debris Removal (ADR) mission. The Cleaning Outer Space Mission through Innovative Capture (COSMIC) will harness our rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO) and robotic debris capture capabilities to remove two inactive British satellites currently orbiting Earth.

Educated in astrophysics, spacecraft technology and satellite communications, Nick’s obsession with space started early. It’s safe to say that whilst our mission is for all of the kids who dream of reaching the stars, and the future generations beyond them, it’s also for younger Nick and the host of others who have long known space has much to offer us.

Commercial Director Andrew Faiola as a child“Perhaps the wonder of being able to communicate with people unconstrained by borders was the spark.” – Andrew Faiola, Commercial VP

It was this spark that set Andrew on a winding path into the space industry, which eventually led to a shared ambition with Astroscale; to protect and preserve the space environment for future generations. 

We’re getting closer and closer to achieving this goal, which brings us to the most exciting news from 2023 – the completion of our UK ADR System Requirements Review (SRR). Led by the UK Space Agency, the SRR is a critical milestone in the satellite development phase. Multiple technical requirements were reviewed, including the concept of the mission, initial design of the robotic arm, and detumbling methods. 

It’s a testament to the close relationships we have formed with UK-focused industrial partners, developing a robust supply chain which will allow us to further develop and expand the capabilities of the UK’s commercial in-orbit servicing economy.

It’s a huge step forward as we gear up to launch COSMIC in 2026. 

We’d like to round out the year by taking a moment to thank (and celebrate!) everyone who has worked so tirelessly to make it such a success. So, as we head into 2024 with our heads held high – despite the weighty goals we’ve set – never forget that…

Hr Director Kayte Gittens as a child“Each and every person has an important role to play to contribute to cleaning up space.” – Kayte Gittens, HR Director

Whether your earliest childhood memory was a visit to the John F. Kennedy Space Center like Kayte, or you simply discovered the beauty of the universe and all its wonders later on in life, one thing is for certain; space represents more than beauty – it has an important role to play in improving life on earth for all. So, it must be protected by all.

Which is exactly what we’re here to do!