Since the birth of the Space Age in 1957 with the launch of the world's first artificial satellite, the discoveries made through the applications of space science and engineering have changed humanity's perspective of our position in the Universe. But what difference has space science and technology made to our everyday lives? Has it really been worth all of the money spent –especially considering the urgent problems we face here on Earth? And will humans ever become a truly interplanetary species?
Professor Anu Ojha OBE is Director of the UK National Space Academy, a member of STFC Council and ESA’s Human Spaceflight and Exploration Science Advisory Committee (HESAC) – the senior science advisory body to the Agency’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Exploration. Invited by the Secretary of State for Defence to contribute to the 2020 Integrated Review, he is heavily involved in HMG’s strategic programme of allowed collaborations in space science with China through the UK-China Joint Laboratory in Space Science and Technology in which he is the UK lead for skills, education and human spaceflight/robotic exploration. In 2016 he was appointed Honorary Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester and teaches on international undergraduate and postgraduate courses specialising in human spaceflight/robotic exploration, broader space sector capabilities/challenges and international space strategy and policy. He was Principal Investigator for the Astro Academy Principia experiment programme conducted on the International Space Station by British astronaut Tim Peake and has also worked for ESA supporting the SOHO, Mars Express and Rosetta missions.
Prior to his space sector career, he spent fifteen years as a high school physics teacher, was awarded Advanced Skills Teacher status for outstanding teaching by the UK Secretary of State for Education in 2003 and became Assistant Headteacher of the largest school in the UK at that time. In 2021 he was appointed as a Member of Court (Governing Body) of the University of St Andrews.
Date: August 2022
Author: Professor Anu Ojha (UK National Space Academy)