UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (National): UK and Russia commit to collaboration in space science

Press Release   •   Feb 22, 2011 11:34 GMT

The UK and Russia will share expertise, knowledge and innovation in space science, thanks to a joint statement being signed today by both countries in Moscow.

The UK-Russia Year of Space 2011 puts in place an agreement for enhanced collaboration in space science research. This will see University College London and the Institute of Medical and Biological Problems in Russia work together on a psychological study concerning crew behaviour in space.

Another experiment between Kingston University and the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos will look at how fluids behave in microgravity. Research will be carried out simultaneously onboard the International Space Station and in schools in the UK and Russia, giving young people the chance to get involved in the real scientific process.

In addition to this, a series of events will be held to highlight both countries’ world-class experience in this area. These include a series of ‘Space Science Cafes’ to bring together leading UK and Russian senior space scientists to share knowledge, and look at priority areas for future research.

Speaking from Moscow, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:

“The UK plays an important role in space science and research throughout the world. Only a few weeks ago cameras engineered by British scientists in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory were used by NASA to take the first 360° view of the Sun.

“We need to continue to share this knowledge and expertise, and the UK Russia Year of Space 2011 is a fantastic opportunity to do just that. We already have a history of space research collaboration with Russia, and I hope this partnership will lead to more groundbreaking work for years to come.”

The joint statement was signed by the UK Space Agency and Roscosmos during Mr Willetts’ visit to Russia to promote greater cooperation on life sciences, physics, climate science, energy efficiency, nanotechnology and space science.

Notes to editors

1. The UK Space Agency is an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills established on 1 April 2010. The agency aims to maximise UK benefits from space activities and to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of global scientific excellence and the exploitation of space infrastructure, products and services. The agency encourages interaction between industry and academia.

2. UK-Russia Year of Space 2011

The UK-Russia Year of Space 2011 has given rise to an extensive programme of events and initiatives led by institutions across the UK and Russia. Highlights will include:

  • UK Russia Space Science Cafés, hosted by the British Embassy in Moscow, to bring together British and Russian experts from various space-related fields;
  • “First Orbit”, a film depicting a Gagarin’s-eye-view of the historic first space flight in 1961, will be screened at the British Embassy in Moscow in April 2011;
  • A cooperative experiment between Roscosmos, Kingston University and others will examine fluids in microgravity for operation on the International Space Station;
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company will stage a play about Sergei Korolev, the Soviet Rocket engineer whose expertise led to the successful launch of Sputnik in 1957;
  • The Space for All programme, a new award scheme from the UK Space Agency under which organisations and individuals can seek funding for innovative projects that promote the UK space programme, and inspire the use of space as a focus for learning in schools and colleges;
  • "Rockets for Yuri" is part of the UK’s YuriGagarin50 initiative which will encourage the public to take part in a mass launching of air and water-powered rockets at locations across the UK at 12pm on 12th April 2011, to celebrate Yuri Gagarin's heroic space flight.

3. For further information on the UK Russia Year of Space 2011 please visit:

4. BIS' online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information


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