Cafe Scientifique Henley Talk – How to Stop the Sky Falling on Our Heads

Wednesday 16 March
7.00 for 7.30pm
Hybrid – Zoom or at Henley Hockey Club (40 people)

Around 2,000 satellites orbit the Earth, alongside 3,000 redundant ones and over 31,000 other pieces of space junk. On December 3rd last year, the ISS orbit performed an emergency manoeuvre to avoid a potentially fatal collision with a fragment of a US launch vehicle. But all is not lost. The UK is host to a number of fast growing space hardware companies. Two of these – Astroscale UK and Oxford Space Systems – are developing and testing the craft and equipment needed to remove the most threatening pieces of debris from lower Earth orbit. I am a private collector of rare Apollo and Soviet era mission artefacts. Recently, the collection acquired one of the largest pieces of space debris ever to return to earth that now lies in private hands, namely 35kg of the heat shield of Salut 7, which fell over Argentina in 1991. As a way to illustrate the origin of space debris and the risk it poses, I will first tell the story of Salut 7 and how part of it came to be in our garden. I will then go on to explain how Astroscale UK and Oxford Space Systems are contributing to the sustainability of space exploration, executing orbital manoeuvres of specialist docking craft, and launching prototype harpoons to capture and ultimately destroy space debris.

Speaker Dr Michael Warner

Director of the Centre for Local Content Innovation (Managing Net Zero policies with Industrial Strategy.)
PhD at Imperial College
Lecturer at UCL in Environmental Management
Research Fellow Overseas Development Institute
Various roles in Industry

To register email and stating whether you would like to attend in person or via Zoom