2019 Hatfield Memorial Lecture

Tuesday 10 December, 7pm. The Octagon Centre, The  University of Sheffield

The New Space Race: How Your Future Career Might Just Take You to Orbit & Beyond…

Mike Lawton CEO of Oxford Space SystemsEver since the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 in October 1957, humankind has sought to exploit the region beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. The fledgling years of the space industry witnessed the battle between the ideologies of East and West drive the development of space technology in a race to prove technical superiority.

Through the 70s, 80s and 90s space became increasingly the domain of large military and ground-breaking science missions; where only the richest nation states could afford to get off the launch pad. It is only relatively recently that a number of factors have come together to enable the democratisation of space, whereby it is now possible to buy & launch a satellite for the price of a sports car.

In this fast paced lecture, Oxford Space Systems’ CEO and Founder Mike Lawton will explore the dawn of the commercial space age and profile some of the exciting opportunities for technology - and even your career - in new race for space.

Mike Lawton is founder-CEO of Oxford Space Systems (OSS), an award-winning, early stage space technology business. The company ranks as #52 in the UK Top 100 UK Fastest Growing Companies. This is Mike’s third technology business, with previous ventures including a remote telemetry business built around an idea he had at university and a biofuel technology business that led to a joint venture in India, which won Mike the title of Green Entrepreneur for India 2009.

OSS, a private equity backed business based at the Harwell Space Cluster, is developing a new generation of deployable satellite antennas & structures that are lighter, less complex and lower cost than those in current demand. This is achieved by combining the company’s space-proven, proprietary materials with origami engineering techniques. As well as numerous international awards, OSS holds a space sector record for the fastest time from a new material concept to successful demonstration of the material in the form of a new boom product on orbit in less than 30 months.

Oxford Space Systems, recently won a £1m technology grant from MoD’s Defence and Security Accelerator for development of a wrapped-rib antenna, representing the largest award for a first time supplier to the MoD.

Mike was awarded Barclays Bank Start-Up Entrepreneur of the Year in December 2018 for the progress and ambition of Oxford Space Systems. He is keen supporter of STEM activities in schools and colleges across the UK and believes in the need to excite the UK’s future generation of engineers and scientists.

The Hatfield Memorial Lecture Committee would like to thank the following sponsors of the lecture; The University of Sheffield; The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre; The Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining; the Sheffield Metallurgical and Engineering Association; Sheffield Forgemasters; The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers; TWI; the South Yorkshire Chapter of the IET and Beta Technology.

Logos of the sponsors of the Annual Hatfield Lecture