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Space telescopes and the NewSpace revolution

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Yeshpal Singh.

It has long been recognised that space telescopes can out-perform even the largest ground-based ones as evidenced by a handful of space telescopes for astronomy including our two wonderful flagship observatories – the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). However, these telescopes are few and far between and the flagships only come around once every 20 years or so. Wouldn’t it be great if the global astronomical space community could have more of these precious gifts?

Well, maybe we can. So far, our space telescopes are a product of what is called “OldSpace” which is funded by tax-payers and characterised by highly risk-averse government space agencies who like to operate with very large budgets over very long timescales. However, about 12 years ago the space industry started to become dominated by a more agile and independent private sector that relies on innovation and operates quickly with much smaller satellite budgets. This change was called the “NewSpace revolution”. Today, about 80% of all space activities are funded by the private sector.

This talk will make the case that the NewSpace revolution offers a tremendous opportunity for future high impact astronomy science missions that are both very fast and highly affordable.

This talk is part of the Physics and Astronomy Colloquia series.

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