Dr Lucia F. de la Bella has been appointed as one of four regional ambassadors
The University of Portsmouth has been successful in its bid to host a European Space Agency (ESA) UK ambassador.
Dr Lucia F. de la Bella, from the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG), has been appointed as one of four regional ambassadors responsible for extending the reach of the ESA by engaging with communities which would otherwise never hear about space.
She said: “I am very excited about this brilliant opportunity and to be part of an excellent team of UK ambassadors, working so closely with ESA and UKSA, and supported by the South Coast Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications and the University of Portsmouth.
“The role of ESA UK Regional Ambassador offers me the perfect opportunity to realise my vision of space. I aim to advance our knowledge, technology and make social advances for all humanity by shifting the focus of technology-driven space missions towards the greatest challenges of humankind.
“I’m excited to introduce space to enable revolutionary solutions to real-world problems and help local and regional businesses integrate innovation and space as a critical asset for their growth, while linking to the UK national strategies such as the National Space Strategy and Net Zero Strategy.”
The role of ESA UK Regional Ambassador offers me the perfect opportunity to realise my vision of space.
Dr de la Bella is based in the South Coast Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, which is hosted by the University of Portsmouth and funded by the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency. The Centre’s Director, Professor Adrian Hopgood, said “We are delighted to have won this funding from ESA. It creates a new mechanism for initiating projects and for growing our already extensive network of space-related businesses.”
Dr de la Bella’s background is in theoretical cosmology and she had a lead role in the ESA mission, Euclid, a space telescope designed to explore the dark Universe. She has also played an active role in the Innovation Project meetings at the ICG, applying astrophysics techniques to solve real-world problems using satellite downstream applications.
The four ESA ambassadors are embedded in different host organisations to support the development, implementation and pilot operations of space-based innovative and commercially sustainable services.
Director of the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, Professor Adam Amara, said: “Lucia has extensive experience of the space sector and has been an integral part of Mission Space, our new strategy which aims to bring together key players in the industry. She’s worked on space mission designs to address climate change and planetary resilience, and played a significant role in drafting the University’s space charter.
“Lucia will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as ESA ambassador and we’re excited to see the businesses or individuals she works with develop and grow their space-related activities.”
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