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The University of Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK, ranked in the world's top 60 in the QS World University Rankings 2021.

The University of Bristol is home to a strong multi-disciplinary community of space researchers across all faculties with over 100 academics involved in space research. The key strengths and capabilities cover Earth observation, connectivity, materials and components, payloads, space exploration, astronomy, health and life sciences, as well as the related fields of data science, artificial intelligence, cyber security and quantum technologies.  

Earth Observation: Academics use satellite data and technologies alongside data science and machine learning to monitor greenhouse gases, volcanic plumes, ground deformation and earthquakes, meteorological processes, and Arctic ice melt, and to support flood and climate modelling. The University became a Met Office Academic Partner (MOAP) in2020, with a particular focus on ‘hazards and risks’.The partnership benefits from a dedicated collaborative team who facilitate accelerating scientific research from UoB into societal impacts.  

Connectivity: The University hosts a broad array of communications research and is home to the Smart Internet Lab, where expertise in optical, wireless, IoT and cloud technologies enables end-to-end design and optimisation. We are working with industry to define the next generationof5G architecture, converging terrestrial 5G networks with satellite 5Gas part of the ESA HydRON programme. 

Robotics: Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK, comprising a vibrant community of 300 academics, researchers, and industrial practitioners. It is a collaborative partnership between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England and is an internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in robotics. Many of the projects within the centre are aligned with space innovation including aerial robots, assistive robotics, bio-energy and self-sustaining systems, bio-mimetic and neuro-robotics, connected autonomous vehicles, medical robotics, robots for hazardous environments, robot teleoperation, robot vision, smart automation, soft and tactile robotics. 

Materials and Components 

The University’s Bristol Composites Institute (BCI), and the National Composite Centre (NCC), are at the cutting-edge of research into space-ready materials and components. Academics from the BCI are involved in ESA’s SESAME project, sending novel composite materials to the International Space Station Bartolomeo platform to assess their performance in Low Earth Orbit. Others are developing advanced composite structures for light weight launch vehicles, space craft and antennae, optimisation of rocket launch technology as well as deployable structures for space applications. The NCC provides infrastructure, access to cutting edge technology and engineering expertise to several companies with activities in the space sector and supports engagement between academic researchers and commercial partners. 

Other work across the university includes the development of payloads for NASA’s Chandra satellite, CubeSat technology, robotic solutions in extreme environments, and experimental payloads. A project is ongoing to develop a Low Earth Orbit Simulator with capabilities unique within the UK.