University of Sheffield makes advanced manufacturing links to China's space programme

  • University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) signs agreement to launch new joint research institute with the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST)
  • SAST is working on the development of the Tiangong Space Station, scheduled for launch in 2020
  • AMRC will work with SAST to develop thin-walled structures for commercial rockets

The University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology have today (26 September 2016) signed an agreement to launch a new joint research institute.

SASTSAST is a key partner in China's space programme, which includes the development of the Tiangong 3 Space Station, scheduled for launch in 2020.

The AMRC will work with SAST to develop strong thin-walled structures for commercial rockets.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett and Professor Meng Guang, Vice-Principal of SAST, for the pioneering collaboration, which also includes Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

SAST, which has an annual budget of $60 billion, is a subsidiary of the China Aerospace and Technology Corporation (CASC), a state-owned enterprise and the main contractor for the Chinese space program.

CASC provides commercial launch services to the international market and with 20,000 employees in Shanghai, is one of the world's most advanced organisations in the development and deployment of high energy propellant technology, strap-on boosters, and launching multiple satellites atop a single rocket.

SAST is working with the AMRC on the technical issues associated with creating strong thin-walled structures for commercial Tiangong 3 Space Station, scheduled for launch in 2020. Image: Adrian Mann, www.bisbos.comrockets. They will fund mobility for academic and commercial staff to receive training in advanced manufacturing techniques and send China Scholarship Council (CSC) students to study for their PhDs in Sheffield.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “I am delighted that two world-leading organisations such as SAST and the University of Sheffield’s AMRC are collaborating so effectively to find technical solutions to complex aerospace issues.

Signing ceremonyStaff from the University of Sheffield and SAST witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

"This is a priority area for China as announced by President Xi Jinping, and also one of longstanding expertise at the University of Sheffield. We see tremendous potential for companies and products in both countries."

John Baragwanath, Executive Director of the AMRC, added:

Signing ceremony“The AMRC is delighted to partner SAST on this new collaborative research programme, which will combine expertise in the two centres and lead to improved products and new innovations.”

The signing ceremony took place in Shanghai, where Professor Sir Keith Burnett has been part of a ministerial delegation, led by Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Jo Johnson.

Professor Meng Guang said: "As the AMRC's first partner in China, I feel confident that our joint research initiatives will lead to significant advances in our human and technical capabilities.”