Last Month in Space - September

Find out what happened in the space industry in September!

1. Japan makes the first small steps to a space elevator

A space elevator may sound like something from a science fiction novel but it may one day become a reality. If a successful space elevator were to be invented it would cost a fraction of a traditional single use rocket to take workers, equipment and tourists into low earth orbit. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has launched two tiny satellites that will test elevator motion in space in the first experiment of its kind. Space elevators are still a long way off but this experiment could bring us one small step closer to it becoming a reality.

Find out more information about how space elevators could one day be a reality here.

2. Space Worms

It has been announced that later in the year thousands of worms will be flown to the International Space Station to further our understanding of how spaceflight induces muscle degeneration. The experiment, being run by a team of scientists from the Universities of Exeter, Nottingham and Lancaster,  will be the first UK experiment to take place on the ISS. It is hoped that the results of this experiment will boost our knowledge of how spaceflight affects muscles allowing for longer space missions. This research could also impact how we treat muscular dystrophies and diabetes as we further our knowledge of ageing muscle loss.

Find out more about how worms are helping pave the way for future exploration of space and helping us back here on earth here.

3.  RemoveDebris satellite makes steps towards clearing Earth’s orbit

From old bits of rockets and defunct satellites to tools dropped by astronauts and flecks of paint, 7500 tonnes of space debris drifts aimless in the Earth’s orbit posing a huge threat to future missions. The RemoveDebris satellite is a demonstration project from Surrey Satellite Technology being used to test methods of space debris removal. It has recently successfully deployed a net that in the future will be used to drag captured space junk out of the sky. Cleaning up low earth orbit is a growing concern and these first tests mark progress towards tackling the issue.

More about attempts to tackle the problem of space debris can be found here.

4.First science image from NASA’s new planet hunter released

The first image taken by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which was launched in April 2018 to search the brightest stars near Earth for exoplanets has been released. The image released was taken using all four of the spacecraft’s wide-field cameras  capturing a wealth of stars and other objects including some systems that are already known to have exoplanets. By the end of the mission it is planned for TESS to have performed a survey covering 85% of the sky, collecting data that will make it possible to study the mass, size, density and orbit of many of the planets detected.

To see the image and to find out more about the TESS mission click here.

What’s Coming Up in October?

The 4th - 10th of October brings the annual World Space Week, ‘an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition’. With the 2018 theme of ‘Space Unites the World’, check out their website for plenty of space events taking place around the globe!


As part of World Space Week,, UKSEDS and the Royal Astronomical Society are hosting a Diversity in Space Careers (DISC) event on the 4th October at the Royal Astronomical Society in London. DISC is a one-day conference that is championing equality, diversity and inclusion in the space sector. For tickets to the event follow this link.

UKSEDS will be hosting Careers Launch at the Reinventing Space Careers Conference on the 31st October. It is aimed at students, graduated and young professionals who want to succeed within the space sector and will feature a series of panels and workshops on careers in the space industry as well as networking opportunities. Tickets are available here


Emma Collier

Emma studies Physics with Astronomy at the University of Southampton.

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