Bradford has much to gain from the UK space industry – and has a vital role to play in its future – an expert professor from the University has said.
Professor Paul Febvre, of the Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI, helped to set up the Cornwall ‘space port’ where the failed Virgin satellite was launched on January 9.
Despite that being a “disappointment”, Professor Febvre admits, there are still plenty of positives – and Bradford can be a major player.
“Despite the disappointment, the coordination to prepare the multiple satellites for space was exemplary,” he said.
Professor Febvre also called for more to be done to nurture the next generation.
“The space sector, like many tech sectors, is continuously demanding more skills, and these are hard to secure,” he said.
“We need to encourage the understanding in our new generation of engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs that space is a fantastic place to develop a career.”
The Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI has plans to launch its own miniature ‘pocket cube’ satellite into space next year.
Professor Febvre added: “The principal purpose is to provide a platform for both teaching and research, as well as advancing capability in miniaturised satellite systems in the UK, and the University of Bradford is a pioneer in this regard.”
Professor Febvre is convinced humanity is on the brink of a technological revolution which will result in thousands of new jobs for satellite and communications graduates.
He predicts space-based data centres and even zero-gravity artificially grown transplant organs, and an army of AI and satellite communications specialists to manage them.
“We’re currently in the middle of a huge transition,” he said.
“There will be thousands and thousands of satellites doing a multitude of tasks, all of which will need managing.
“What this means is in the near future we will need lots of people trained in artificial intelligence and satellite communications, and that’s precisely the area in which the University of Bradford is specialising.”
“Most people are already using artificial intelligence in some way – it could be the biometric readers on your smartphone or fitness app.
“In the near future, AI will create so many more opportunities for people and companies to collaborate.”