Welcome to the Space Academic Network

The Space Academic Network (SPAN) comprises the heads, or equivalent, of the principal space research groups across the UK together with representatives from related organisations.

 SPAN provides a voice for space-related research in the UK in the fields of Earth Observation, Space Engineering and Space Science. The group meets approximately three times per annum with representatives of the UK Space Agency, Research Councils and UK Space in attendance. Moreover, it acts proactively to coordinate a balanced response to current imperatives such as government or parliamentary consultations or more general issues.

 SPAN is primarily concerned that the national and international infrastructure is ‘fit for purpose’ and that it works in a way that is as effective as possible. Therefore it advises on enabling mechanisms and processes, funding, the policy and practices of UK government, Research Councils, UK Space Agency policy, European Space Agency and the EU. Space research is a global activity and SPAN seeks to ensure the maximum benefit from international collaborations within and beyond Europe.

Space Engineering

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.

Earth Observation

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.

Space Science

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.