Students with National Space Academy StaffOn Wednesday 6th September the UK National Space Academy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with leading UK and China space scientists to establish a new joint Virtual Centre to lead Space Education and Space Culture activities between the UK and China.

The new Virtual Centre partnership will serve as a platform of Sino-UK space educational and space cultural leadership which could then be expanded to include participation from other space agencies and new space programmes/agencies in the developing world.


As part of this agreement, and based on the success of the Academy’s education experiments conducted by ESA astronaut Tim Peake on board the International Space Station (ISS), the National Space Academy has been invited to develop, in partnership with the Centre’s China organisations, new innovative education experiments which will fly on future China unmanned and human spaceflight missions – the first time that such an invitation has ever been made to an organisation outside China.


Anu Ojha teachingThe new Virtual Centre will operate under the auspices of the existing UK-China Joint Laboratory Programme in Space Science and Technology led by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and with the support of the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and encouragement of UK Space Agency.

In 2016, the National Space Academy, working in partnership with the British Embassy in Beijing, University of Nottingham Ningbo and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), delivered a pioneering series of student and teacher masterclasses for hundreds of attendees selected from across China through the country’s leading space science Universities and laboratories.


Chris Carr teaching

As a result of the success and impact of these programmes, the Academy has been invited by the leadership of the China National Space Administration to establish the new Virtual Centre. Its goal is to create a stronger framework of education cooperation through a greater network of partners from research and education and introduce new collaboration between significant new culture organisations such as science museums.



Professor Anu Ojha OBE, Director of the UK National Space Academy:
“This new Centre will develop new innovative space partnerships between the UK and China in education, research and cultural awareness and will give UK teachers, students and researchers new opportunities to work in partnership with one of the world’s most ambitious space programmes – through student masterclasses and teacher programmes held in China and the UK, through dedicated programmes conducted at the heart of China’s space programme and through the opportunity for us to develop new teaching experiments that will be conducted on China’s planned Space Station”


Professor Martin Barstow, Director of the Leicester Institute of Space and Earth Observation and Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester:
“I am pleased to support this MOU on behalf of the University of Leicester. STEM and space education are at the core of our business and a key part of the proposed Space Park Leicester development. As the University grows its own links with China’s space programme, we anticipate that this project will deliver the skilled workers that a vigorous space programme needs.”


Min Rose, Deputy Director of Knowledge Exchange Asia at the University of Nottingham:
“The University of Nottingham is delighted to partner with the National Space Academy to support the cultural and educational programmes of this expanded new Virtual Centre. The combined expertise of our China Cultural Visiting Hub across geospatial science, astronomy, archaeology, architecture and digital humanities will contribute to a dynamic and sustained science and cultural engagement programme between China and the UK.”