UCL Research Domains


Space Domain Events & News

Events & News with UCL Space Domain



One O'clock Lecture

Space Domain One O'clock Lecture Poster

14 December 2021

Speaker: Mark Garcia

Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, PhD candidate

Mark's PhD examines the growing relevance and value of posthuman theorisations of the aesthetics and technologies of 21st century spacecraft as works of ‘space architecture’ and architectural design. The central argument of this thesis is that posthumanisms (amongst other competing theories of architectural design) have a significant new and growing explanatory power not just for architectural design (in which there is already some significant key theoretical and design research) but for space architecture and the architectural type of the spaceship/spacecraft itself.

Exemplified by the completion of the International Space Station in 2015, 'space architecture' design innovations in the USA and EU are increasingly becoming the focus of significant and international architectural design interest. This PhD examines, through the lens of theories of posthumanisms and a holon-based mereology, the techno-aesthetic value of this new development for architectural design per se. This Thesis is detailing the historical and future possibilities for techno-aesthetic transfers (between both vernacular and avant-garde international Earth architectures and space architectural design and space architects. As the most popular, developed and realised typology of 'space architecture' the 'Spacecraft/Spaceship' type will be closely analysed (as posthuman aesthetic and technologies) through two main case studies – the International Space Station (ISS) and the U.S.S Enterprise (USSE) from the Star Trek film, TV and wider cultural universe. Together these are the most developed, popular and representative of both realised and fictional spaceships and space architectures. However the significant existing research around them has as yet not been theorised as either architectural designs or space architectures through the new paradigm and theories of posthumanisms. After a synthesis of these comparative analyses the isomorphologies and homologies between terran architecture and space-architecture will be articulated This Thesis will conclude by producing a new mereological and teleological definition and theorisation of the 21st century posthuman spaceship/spacecraft type and a ‘Strategic Research Agenda’ for posthuman architectural design per se. 

To find out more contact s.plattard@ucl.ac.uk


One O'Clock Lecture

15 June 2021

The Golden Era of Polar Altimetry: Legacy and Continuity

Speaker: Dr Michel Tsamados Lecturer at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling in Earth Sciences at UCL

A pdf of the presentation slides (~30Mbyte) is available please contact alan.smith@ucl.ac.uk

One O'Clock Lecture

11 May 2021

The Anthropology of the International Space Station

Speaker: Professor Victor Buchli, Department of Anthropology, Co-Director Space Domain, UCL

Due to an intermittent link with Victor in San Francisco, a recording is not available but a pdf of the presentation slides is available

One O'Clock Lecture

16 March 2021

Value creation in space and its measurement

Speaker: Dr Charlotte Guillard, Research Fellow at UCL-Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, affiliated researcher at UNU-MERIT

View the event here.
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One O'Clock Lecture

2 March 2021

European Space Champions

Speaker: Mattia Pianorsi, Researcher Space Economy Evolution Lab, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milano, Italy

View the event here.
To view this event you will need a zoom account



Mattia is a Research Fellow of Banking and Insurance at SDA Bocconi School of Management. His collaboration with SDA Bocconi began in 2015 where he has been involved in applied research projects for corporate and financial institutions. Currently, Mattia is the teaching assistant of Financial Management and Corporate Banking, Financial Management and Financial Markets, and Structured and Project Finance courses at Bocconi University. He was also academic tutor of the CEMS (the Global Alliance in Management Education) project work for ESA (European Space Agency). 

Since 2018, he has been working as permanent researcher at SEE Lab (Space Economy Evolution Laboratory), a multidisciplinary research lab of the SDA Bocconi School of Management focused on the analysis of the space industry. Within the SEE Lab, Mattia has enlarged his academic interests addressing venture capital investments and start-up development with the main objective to create an innovation program for space endeavors. At the same time, he studies Public-Private Partnership models from a financial perspective to better address issues derived from space exploration programs.  Many of the activities he is involved in are available on the SEE Lab website (https://www.sdabocconi.it/seelab). Now, he is carrying out research on Moon mining economic sustainability with a first publication as a co-author. (Sommariva, A., Chizzolini, B., Gori, L., Pianorsi, M. (2020). The economics of moon mining. Acta Astronautica).

Mattia obtained an MSc in Management in Bocconi in 2014. He attended the Executive Management Program in Banking in 2015 and the Teaching Excellence Program in 2017, both at SDA Bocconi.

UCL-France Conférence-débat

20 Jan 2021

View a zoom video of the event here

You will need a zoom account. If you're from UCL choose the 'SSO' option on the login page.

"Overcoming psychological challenges of the human exploration of the solar system".


Call for Speakers


woman sitting at laptop

Our One O’clock lunchtime Webinar series is intended to be an informal platform for sharing on Space related topics to a general, non-specialist audience including UCL undergraduate and postgraduate students, staff members, and is open to the general public. All lectures now take place via Microsoft Teams virtually between 13:00-14:00. Time permitting, we open up the chat for questions at the end of the lecture. 

We are looking for either 20 minutes (in which we would have two speakers to fill the slot with 10 minutes for Q&A each) or 40 minutes presentations with 20 minutes for Q&A, time permitting. We welcome contributions related to Space Research/Projects/Competitions/Interests taking place at UCL. Although definitely not exclusive, we are particularly interested in topics which fit within the following Themes:

  • Earth/Climate Change
  • Humans in Space
  • Space as a Natural Asset
  • Science in, about and from Space
  • “Living with a Star”
  • ‘The Exploration conversation: Robots or humans or both?’
  • Local Space
  • ‘Propulsion; from rockets and motors to the future’
  • National and International Space Policy
  • What is New Space: Privatization, commercial exploitation of space, or democratization?
  • How to get involved in space – career paths and journeys
  • Space and culture – a historical relationship
  • Xenobiology/Astrobiology – Learning from extreme environments on Earth

This is a fantastic opportunity for Early Career Researchers and Postgraduate Students at UCL to engage, communicate and reach out to a wider audience with their research. As well as providing excellent exposure for their research and showcasing future leaders in the Space Sector this series offers a supportive, collegiate environment for sharing ideas/research and the potential of constructive comments/feedback/insights from a wide audience including senior academics at UCL, leaders in the Space Sector, student peers, industry professionals and the wider interested general public. 

Speakers can be very diverse, including senior academics describing their research, post docs describing recent result and students outlining an area of current interest. We particularly encourage the participation of Early Career Researchers, postgraduate students and other researchers particularly those who identify as underrepresented groups including Women, BAME, LGBT + community and disabled individuals at UCL. In this spirit, we would like to reach out to our senior UCL colleagues and staff and ask them to actively encourage their Early Career Researchers and Postgraduate Students who may not normally feel confident presenting or sharing their work to come forward and apply. 

To be considered to speak please fill out the form or email an abstract (of approximately 250-300 words) or alternatively a graphical/video/audio abstract to the organising committee.  Please note that we encourage all postgraduate students to discuss this opportunity with their supervisor/s before submitting an abstract.    

Past One O’clock Space lectures can be found here.

Additional Requirements 
If you anticipate having any additional requirements when presenting, please make us aware of these when you register. These may include accessibility, access, caring responsibilities or other additional requirements that will enable you to present. 

It is expected that presentations and handouts adhere to Advance HE’s accessibility requirements and we will provide presenters with the relevant guidance material.


Earlier One O'clock Space Domain Webinars

The SMILE mission: A novel way to explore solar-terrestrial interactions given on Thursday May 21st. 

G. Branduardi-Raymont (MSSL/UCL, UK), C. Wang (NSSC/CAS, China) and the SMILE collaboration

The coupling between the solar wind and the Earth's magnetosphere-ionosphere system, and the geospace dynamics that result, comprise some of the key questions in space plasma physics. In situ measurements by a fleet of solar wind and magnetospheric missions, current and planned, can provide the most detailed observations of the Sun-Earth connections. However, we are still unable to quantify the global effects of the drivers of such connections, and to monitor their evolution with time. This information is the key missing link for developing a comprehensive understanding of how the Sun gives rise to and controls the Earth's plasma environment and space weather.

SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer) is a novel self-standing mission dedicated to observing the solar wind - magnetosphere coupling via simultaneous X-ray imaging of the magnetosheath and polar cusps (large spatial scales at the magnetopause), UV imaging of global auroral distributions (mesoscale structures in the ionosphere) and in situ solar wind/magnetosheath plasma and magnetic field measurements. X-ray imaging of the magnetosheath and cusps is made possible by the X-ray emission produced in the process of solar wind charge exchange, first observed at comets, and subsequently found to occur in the vicinity of the Earth's magnetosphere. One of the science aims of SMILE is to track the substorm cycle, via X-ray imaging on the dayside and by following its consequences on the nightside with UV imaging.

SMILE is a collaborative mission between ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) that was selected in November 2015, adopted into ESA’s Cosmic Vision Programme in March 2019, and is due for launch at the end of 2023. The science that SMILE will deliver, as well as the ongoing technical developments and scientific preparations, and the current status of the mission, will be presented.

"A machine learning tool for characterising the evolution of nearby galaxies" given on May 28th by Choong Ling Liew-Cain, UCL PhD student.

Abstract: Whilst we have some idea about how galaxies evolve, quantifications of their evolutions, particularly in the nearby universe, are still being determined. With the next generation of telescopes, terabytes of data are being collected each night to help answer this question. In order to examine all of these data, we need fast algorithms to determine the values of age and metallicity of galaxies, which parameterise the evolution of galaxies. I will present my work on creating a machine learning method of analysing large volumes of data efficiently to investigate the evolution history of galaxies. I will show neural networks, which are a type of machine learning, are able to reproduce the properties of galaxies accurately from lower resolution data.


"Nature-Inspired, Multi-Functional Surface Coatings for Sustainable Life Support in Space and On Earth" given by UCL PhD Student, Malica Schmidt on June 11, 2020. 

Abstract: The environmental control and life-support system (ECLSS) is, among other things, responsible for the absorption of humidity from cabin air, which is treated, stored, and re-used. However, efficiency could be improved, as only 70-93% of water is recyclable, and costly resupply from Earth is required. Additionally, bacteria start to disperse and proliferate at high humidity levels, which poses a potential risk towards the health of astronauts with a weakened immune system, thus control of microbial contamination is necessary. Ionizing radiation further threatens bio-regenerative ECLSS, but more importantly, is becoming the biggest risk to astronauts’ health. Currently, neither of the above is feasible for missions to Moon, Mars, and beyond, thus finding new approaches for regenerative life support through passive systems is crucial. Here, we present the design of a nature-inspired, multi-functional surface coating, which absorbs excess atmospheric moisture produced by astronauts’ indoors activities and transports it passively to improve existing and future ECLSS. Inspired by the structures of cicada wings, moth eyes and tree capillaries (Figure 1a, b), the surface coating consists of vase-shaped microstructures (Figure 1c), fabricated by 3D microprinting. Informed by calculations, ground-based experiments were carried out (Figure 1d), demonstrating a significantly increased contact angle, great surface tension, liquid intake, and condensation formation. This will be further fundamentally investigated under microgravity conditions at the 35th DLR parabolic flight campaign. An increase in liquid intake can be expected, as capillary-dominated systems are supported 1,000 times more in space. The proposed structures could additionally lead to the transport of microbes and could potentially enhance radiation shielding. Advantages of this multi-functional surface coating include an improved understanding of passive hydrodynamic processes in microgravity, and, therefore, the reduction of energy consumption for applications in space and on Earth. Figure 1: From inspiration, concept, and design to realization and experiments.


Robin Brand "Britain's First Space Rocket" June 25, 2020. 

Sky rocket

One O'Clock Lecture Joint event with the Centre for Outer Space Studies

One O'clock Lecture "Visualizing Space Politics"

9 February 2021

Visualising space politics: using photography and art-based methods in studying a space programme

Abstract: Visual methods (for instance, documentary filmmaking and photography), when used in social sciences, aim at unveiling a reality that would be impossible to adequately understand or convey through words. Since an image, still or in motion, would make visible the reality as no texts could ever do, visuals tend to be seen as visual proofs that corroborate the interpretation of social phenomena. Yet, if the value of visuals is explicit regarding their contribution to document and provide evidence in the field, they also detain an inherent poetical value, deeply related to affects and aesthetics. This talk proposes a discussion of the uses of visual methods for an ethnographer studying space politics. How does one start to take photography and use it as a medium, both to convey social scientific meaning and to develop an aesthetic practice? How can images serve the social scientist to develop critical analysis and highlight the “sublime” of space artefacts, which embed political affect beyond "traditional" apprehensions of space programmes and technological enthusiasm?

Speaker: Dr Julie Patarin-Jossec

Julie Patarin-Jossec holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Bordeaux (France) and is a lecturer at the St. Petersburg University (Russia). Her dissertation emphasised the role of human spaceflight in the post-Soviet European construction, especially in regard to the training of astronauts and cooperation among scientists in the development of the International Space Station since 1998 between Russia and Western Europe. Her latest research is dedicated to visual experimentation and international space politics, using photography and documentary cinema. 


Meeting ID: 992 9613 5204

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/1Ic1aji9

These webinar event will be hosted in Microsoft Teams at UCL.

UCL users should log in to Teams using their UCL credentials.

If you use Microsoft Teams at your institution, please sign in to your Microsoft Teams App with the
credentials issued by your host institution.

You do NOT need to possess an Office 365 or ‘Teams Licence’ to attend this event. Click the meeting link
to join the meeting at the time of the event.

Please note that the session may be recorded and retained as per UCL’s retention schedule. The Chat
function within the meeting will be retained as per UCL’s retention schedule.

Please note we are unable to offer technical support to participants external to UCL.

Blogs and Video Blogs Wanted!


The Space Domain is looking for blog or video blog posts to host on our website. We are particularly interested in the following themes but welcome all topics on Space. 

  • Off-World Living
  • ESA
  • Satellite Applications
  • AI and Space

We want to particularly encourage ECRs. Postgraduate students are also welcome to submit posts with the permission of their supervisors. Please email submissions. 

Space Images Wanted!

The UCL Space Domain is looking for your best Space images to create a mosaic image of London taken from the ISS and put on our new Space Domain T-Shirts and Tote Bags. If you have a great image that encapsulates the Space Domain or the research that is going on at UCL please add it to our mosaic here. 

London at Night image
Please note that the images will not be attributable as part of the mosaic but will be fully attributed if used in any other way.