1,200 people from across the global space sector gathered in Manchester at the end of May for the largest ever UK Space Conference.

The three day event was titled ‘inspire, enable, connect’ and featured 28 sessions on subjects ranging from international growth and security, to launchers and Mars exploration.

More than 180 speakers took to the stage, including UK Space Agency CEO Graham Turnock, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Jan Woerner and British ESA astronaut Tim Peake.

The conference included an exhibition hall, where a record 109 organisations took stands, and a parallel event of hands-on interactive exhibits and educational activities that welcomed 1,500 visitors.

Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said:

The UK Space Conference was a fantastically successful three days. I’m confident it will have sparked collaborations and partnerships that will strengthen our sector and our community. I’m sure we will all look back on the conference as one of the milestones on the road to a very bright future for space in the UK.

New for 2017 was a ‘Space 101’ programme, a series of informative sessions for newcomers to the sector intended to offer a chance to learn all the details needed to operate effectively.

There was also an opportunity for the young winners of the UK Space Agency’s SatelLife Challenge competition to give presentations on their ideas, which looked at how satellite data could be used to improve life on Earth.

The overall winner, 13-year-old James Pearson, even got to meet his hero Tim Peake.

This years’ Sir Arthur Clarke Awards for outstanding achievements in space activities were presented at a gala dinner. Kathie Bowden, the UK Space Agency’s National Space Skills and Career Development Manager, was presented with the Individual Award for Education and Outreach in recognition of her work helping young people get their foot in the door of the space industry.

Kathie won the award for her work on SPIN (Space Placements In Industry), linking industries and organisations working within or alongside the space sector, with talented undergraduates to undertake a funded project or to work alongside industry colleagues for at least eight weeks.

The Agency’s Chris Lee, Head of International Space Partnerships, was a finalist for The Award for International Space Achievement while the CMIN 2016 Team made the shortlist for the team Award for Space Achievement – Industry or Project.

There was also a posthumous Special Lifetime Space Achievement award for British-born NASA astronaut, Piers Sellers, who died in December from pancreatic cancer.

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