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HKU’s new space programme to focus on novel space tech

Image Credits: HKU, Press Release

Modern Space Science is a highly multi-disciplinary field that encompasses a broad range of sub-disciplines, from astrophysics to aerospace engineering, electronics, remote sensing, and space exploration.

In light of the massive expansion and shift in focus to major science missions in space in the Mainland, engagement of talents in these projects will be increasing in Hong Kong, Macau and the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

To answer the call for experts in the rapidly expanding space industries, the Department of Physics at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is offering a new exciting Taught Postgraduate Programme – Master of Science in the field of Space Science from 2020-21.

The programme, the first of its kind in Hong Kong, aims at equipping the next generation of space scientists and engineers with a sound knowledge of space science, associated technologies and related issues that are essential to sustain careers in the space industry and research.

The Head of HKU Physics stated that the programme is inspiring for young researchers who would like to establish links with the Mainland and international space research institutes and participate in large-scale space research projects and for space lovers of all ages who would like to increase their literacy in space science or pursue a career in the field.

Accordingly, to a report published in 2017, the revenue generated by the global space industry is estimated to increase to $1.4 trillion in 2040, up from $350 billion in 2016. The boost of the space industry in the Mainland is reflected by its heavy investment in the field.

Programme Director and Director of Laboratory for Space Research (LSR) stated that China launched 39 satellites in 2018 alone, over twice as many as 2017 and more than any other country in the world.

Given its status as a global metropolis, its strong international links, and its location in the GBA, Hong Kong is ideally placed to capitalise on the growth of Space Science in the Mainland and globally.

The establishment of the LSR under the Faculty of Science in 2016 also helped us build strong ties and agreements with leading space institutes across the world, making HKU an ideal place for a Taught Master Programme in Space Science.

The Co-Programme Director added that the MSc programme taps into the university’s strengths in high-energy astrophysics and planetary sciences.

The programme will provide a foundation to enter this exciting field, with promising employment opportunities, both in the public and private sectors, in China, and worldwide.

Leveraging its wide-established connections, the university will also invite elite guest speakers to the classes and create networking opportunities with leading experts in the field.

While placing a strong focus on the Chinese Space Science programme and on practical knowledge such as space flight propulsion, introduction to space weather, remote sensing, radiation detection and measurement, and small satellite design, this highly multi-disciplinary degree will also expose students to a broad range of areas interwoven to the study, such as space science entrepreneurship, earth science, data science, statistics and engineering, with the contributions from Departments of Earth Sciences, Statistics & Actuarial Science and Electrical & Electronic Engineering forming an important part of our overall programme.

The university has also developed a robust internship programme. Apart from its own LSR internships, the institution has also negotiated excellent internship opportunities with some of its key partners such as with the Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity (BISME), the Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology (SAST), the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CSU, CAS), the DFH Satellite Company Ltd., as well as at Zhejiang University (ZJU) in the Mainland, Padova-CISAS in Italy and the National History Museum (NHM) it the UK.

These internships give students an immersive experience in an authentic working environment and prepares them to respond to a myriad of challenges in the industry. Indeed, many of the top companies and institutes offering internships will also be looking to recruit in the future.

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