Over the past decade, the number and variety of organisations launching into space has significantly increased. The major driver for these activities has been a growing commercial sector, a change from the institutional dominated missions seen in the early years of the space industry. The UK has a number of companies involved in this growing space sector involved in everything from constellations, to on-orbit servicing to launch. All these missions require a clear understanding of safety and the risk presented in orbit and on the ground. One of the areas receiving particular attention in the UK is launch. Commercial actors in the UK are now developing a range of launch options and locations for space ports to allow small satellites to be launched from the UK rather than using international launch sites. As space infrastructure continues to develop, it will continue to be at the frontier of an evolving legislative regime. This will create new challenges in terms of risk assessment and appropriate health and safety regulation.

This Evening Forum, jointly organised by the Chairs of the Safety and Reliability Society and the hazards Forum, will provide perspectives on how the challenges of ensuring a safe launch from UK space ports could be managed. Andrew Ratcliffe and Robert Garner from the UK Space Agency will introduce the UK’s space sector, the emerging challenges associated with new types of space operations and the UK’s developing regulatory approach. Ron MacBeth from the Health and Safety Laboratory will present the results of the major accident hazard analysis of launch site safety and how this is influencing launch licensing. Joanne Wheeler MBE from Alden Advisers will cover the developing area of legislation for launch sites to in-orbit operations, and consider what might happen when things go wrong, including a recent case study.

Dr Luise Vassie (Hazards Forum Chair) and Dr Emma Taylor (Safety and Reliability Society Chair) will then lead a panel discussion to explore the transferability of lessons between established major accident hazard sectors such as nuclear, rail and O&G, and the developing
discipline of space safety.

The Hazards Forum is a UK-registered charity working for the public benefit to mitigate and reduce hazards and disasters, both natural and man-made, thereby reducing injury or loss of life and property and minimise distress and damage. The aim is to foster sharing of knowledge, experience and networking between engineers and related disciplines across industry sectors.

The Safety and Reliability Society (SaRS) is the professional body for safety, reliability and risk management practitioners. With a global membership, and a broad range of academic and commercial affiliate member organisations, SaRS is internationally recognised as the leading body for cross-sector safety and reliability expertise. SaRS is a UK Engineering Council


• Joanne Wheeler MBE, Director, Alden Advisers
• Ron Macbeth, Risk Assessment Technical Lead, Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL)
• Andrew Ratcliffe, Head of Launch Systems, UK Space Agency (UKSA)
• Rob Garner, Mission Analyst, UK Space Agency (UKSA)

Joanne Wheeler MBE (Alden Advisers)
Joanne Wheeler is the Founder and Director of Alden Advisers, globally-recognised space and satellite firm. She is one of the leading experts in the field of satellite law, regulation and commercial contracts, having worked at both Ofcom, the European Space Agency and for over 20 years in private legal practice in this area. Joanne won the Financial Times European Legal Innovator of the Year award in 2014 for her work with the UK space industry and government. She is a founder and Co-Chair of the Satellite Finance Network and has received an MBE for her services to the space industry.

Ron Macbeth (Health and Safety Laboratory)
Ron Macbeth is the risk assessment technical lead at the Health and Safety Laboratory, providing expertise and support to the Health and Safety Executive and other clients in hazard and risk assessment. Ron and his team provide expert analysis in major hazard risk assessment, particularly in the area of process safety, covering failure frequencies, hazard identification and consequence modelling. In addition to their risk assessment work on UK spaceports for the UK Space Agency, he and his team have assessed risks in the utilities, rail and aviation sectors.

Andrew Ratcliffe (UK Space Agency)
Andrew Ratcliffe is the Head of Launch Systems within the Chief Engineers Team at the UK Space Agency. Andrew and his team have been tasked with supporting the development of the regulatory framework that will allow launch to occur from the UK. In addition, Andrew provides cross-directorate support providing technical guidance on future technology development activities. Prior to joining the UK Space Agency, Andrew worked for Airbus Defence and Space in the Earth, Navigation and Science Business Unit, leading technology developments and mission studies for the European Space Agency

Robert Garner (UK Space Agency)
Robert Garner is a Mission Analyst at the UK Space Agency, and a postgraduate researcher in the field of environmental impact of future supersonic and hypersonic vehicles. He is the holder of an Arthur C. Clarke award for his services to space education.


Tuesday, 19th March 2019 at 6:00pm


Tuesday, 19th March 2019 at 8:00pm


Institution of Civil Engineers, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA