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It’s not only NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) that are explaining the mysteries of space. The Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM) (Mexican Space Agency) and the United Kingdom Space Agency are also involved.

MexicoFor example, AEM has partnered with Astrobotic Technology, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a company that is developing landers and robotics for space exploration, to develop the first payload to the moon from a Latin American country.

In addition, in May AEM issued its second request for proposals through the AEM-CONACYT Fund of Trusts for Space Science and Technology. Project proposals are expected from the Mexican Space Science and Exploration Community to determine what will be in the agency’s lunar payload. The agency is expected to award the contract by the fall of 2015. The winning proposal will be built and delivered to the moon.

The UK Space Agency has partnered with Ofcom, the communications regulator in the UK, to develop radio spectrum instruments. The agreement calls for the agency to form a CEO-level liaison group and a space spectrum advisory committee to develop a close and transparent relationship.

In addition, the UK Space Agency has built the Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS), which has been delivered to the European Space Agency for integration into the BepiColombo spacecraft, which will be launched to Mercury in 2017.

Moreover, much of the spacecraft is being built in the UK at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage and UK companies are holding contracts to supply several other components for the mission.

BepiColombo will be only the third spacecraft to visit Mercury in the history of space exploration. The mission is to understand how planetary surfaces are formed and how they evolve and change over time.

The UK Space Agency is also involved in space exploration educational programs. The objective of the programs is to:

  • Encourage children to take up and excel at STEM subjects.
  • Raise awareness of careers in space-related industries and research.
  • Raise wider awareness of the UK’s space exploration program.

The agency has requested funding for a number of projects including:

  • The Aurora program for robotic exploration of Mars.
  • The ELIPS program for microgravity research.

The agency is also offering up to £100k for education activities related to its space exploration programs. The agency is expected to offer between two and five awards up to the total of around £100k.

The projects that the agency is calling for will include:

  • Delivery of curriculum enrichment activities.
  • Delivery of activities to promote careers in the space sector.

A review board led by the UK Space Agency and supported by representatives of the UK space community will judge the proposals. Projects are to start before the end of 2015 and must be completed by March 31, 2016. Closing date for applications is July 7, 2015. More information and application forms can be found here.


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