SPAN provides a voice for space-related research in the UK in the fields of Earth Observation, Space Engineering, Space Science and Exploration. Each of these areas are represented by a working group which provides a forum for the discussion of issues arising in the community. SPAN also hosts a Data and Analysis Working Group which overlaps heavily with Earth Observation and Space Science and Exploration.
New additions to SPAN are welcome, and we collaborate and interact with other research organisations and networks in the space sector.
The ability to observe our planet from space has led to a huge growth in the understanding of our planet, its climate and its resources. Earth Observation covers all aspects of studying the Earth from space including the development of instrumentation, its operation and the processing, analysis, publication and application of its data.
The use of technology in space and in support of space assets involves many novel challenges associated with the launch, environment and remoteness. Space Engineering addresses these issues and, like any other branch of engineering, brings forward new and novel technologies that enables our exploitation of space for both commercial and scientific benefit.
Our understanding of the universe is enhanced by observing above the atmosphere and in the close proximity of celestial bodies (such as within a magnetosphere, on the surface of planets, near the Sun or in orbit around a comet). Space Science covers diverse subjects including Astronomy and Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Solar Physics and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. Space Science also includes the measurement of fundamental physical constants from space (such as the equivalence principle) and gravitational effects.
Data is King! We live in a time of “Big Data”, whether it is Petabytes of information generated from an experiment at CERN, or from the Gaia galactic survey, or from fusing data from multiple sources such as drones, aircraft, satellites and monitoring stations for air quality and environmental monitoring. How we collect, process, analyse and store data is key to making great progress.