Homes in space

UK engineers and scientists are urging the UK government to join the International Space Station programme.

UK engineers and scientists – with the support of the British Interplanetary Society – are urging the UK government to fire the public’s imagination and catch the vision for future space exploration by joining the International Space Station (ISS) programme.

A new contribution to the debate about how the UK should be involved in future space exploration is featured in the latest edition of Spaceflight magazine, the British Interplanetary Society’s monthly space publication.

‘Our plan is for UK industry to design, build and launch a habitation module to enhance the everyday living facilities for astronauts. This proposal shows what Britain could still achieve at a relatively modest cost,’ said article author Mark Hempsell, of Bristol University’s aerospace engineering department.

As well as inspiring the public and a new generation of young people, Hempsell claims such a project would significantly raise the UK’s profile in the space-faring community around the world.

The so-called British Habitation Extension Module (HEM) proposal would provide extra crew support facilities that would enable more effective use of the existing science laboratories.

‘The design study illustrates that the many requirements for a late, but full, entry into the ISS programme can be met by a single system and is still a possible option for Britain,’ explained Hempsell.

Two HEM modules would add around 100 m3 to the Space Station’s living areas.

The total cost of developing building and launching the two HEMs on a Russian Souyuz/Fregat rocket would be £530m, spread over five or six years.