New Year Honours recognition for space experts

Libby Jackson and Professor Terry Moore

TWO leading lights from the space sector, including one from the UK Space Agency, have been recognised in the New Year Honours list 2023. 

The UK Space Agency’s Head of Space Exploration, Libby Jackson, and Professor Terry Moore, Emeritus Professor of the University of Nottingham, both received an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the honours, which recognise the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK. 

Libby, who joined the UK Space Agency in 2014, was honoured for her services to the space sector, having worked to raise the profile of women in space and help encourage young people to consider studying and working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  

Professor Terry Moore has made a major and long-standing contribution to the field of space-based navigation that has significantly benefited the UK.  

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:  “I would like to congratulate Libby and Terry on behalf of everyone at the UK Space Agency, their recognition in the New Year Honours is fantastic news and thoroughly deserved.  

“From working with Libby, I know how dedicated she is to sharing her passion for human spaceflight, particularly with the next generation. She is an inspiration who strives to champion the sector and ensure young people are aware of the wide variety of jobs available in space.  

“Terry’s contribution to the field of space-based navigation has increased the UK’s reputation internationally in this field, deepened our national capability and supported the development of a successful industrial cluster in the Midlands.” 

Libby Jackson, Head of Space Exploration, UK Space Agency 

After graduating with a BSc in physics from Imperial College and a master’s degree in astronautics and space engineering from Cranfield University, Libby worked for Airbus Defence and Space in satellite operations. Libby then worked in Mission Control as a flight controller and then Flight Director for the Columbus module, Europe’s laboratory on the International Space Station. 

Today Libby is one of Britain’s leading experts in human spaceflight and previously managed the hugely successful education programme for Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station. Over two million students took part in the outreach programme, with one in three UK schools participating.  

Libby is a regular spokesperson for the UK Space Agency, championing STEM, sharing stories of human spaceflight and encouraging young people to follow their passions in life. She regularly volunteers at events, such as the Swindon’s Festival of Tomorrow and Bluedot Festival, providing interactive talks and activities to inspire the public. 

Her first book, A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space, was published in 2017, with the aim of encouraging young girls into STEM, and her second, Space Explorers: 25 Extraordinary Stories of Space Exploration and Adventure, was published in 2020.  

Libby said: “It’s a wonderful honour to be recognised for my work in this way, particularly by my peers across the UK Space Agency and government. Nothing happens in isolation and it’s only because I have worked with such an outstanding and talented set of people through the years that this has happened. I would like to thank them and pay tribute to their work. 

“I have got here by doing what I enjoy and I would always encourage young people to follow their passion. I hope this shines a light on the space sector and the amazing opportunities available to people.” 

Professor Terry Moore, Emeritus Professor of the University of Nottingham 

Terry has 40 years of research experience in position and navigation and is a consultant and adviser to US, European and UK government organisations and industry. He became the UK’s first ever Chair of Satellite Navigation at the University of Nottingham in 2001.  

Terry represents the UK internationally on space-based navigation matters, and is a member of the US National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Committee which advises the US Government on GPS. This is a significant recognition of UK strength in this field.  Terry is also a member of the European Space Agency’s Galileo Science Advisory Committee. 

In 2021, he was awarded the International Association of Institutes of Navigation’s John Harrison Award for Outstanding Contributions to Navigation. This is the premier global award in the field of navigation and Terry is its first ever British winner.  

He was the founding Director of GRACE (a research and applications centre of excellence), jointly funded by the University of Nottingham and East Midlands Development Agency. Nottingham is now a centre for space-based navigation and timing and boasts Europe’s leading space-based navigation and timing consultancy.  

Terry is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has supervised over 40 PhD students, many of whom are now leaders in the field. 

He has been President of the Royal Institute of Navigation – a world renowned society for navigation with members in over 50 countries and is Chair of the European Group of Institutes of Navigation and he is a Fellow and Member of Council of the American Institute of Navigation. 

Terry said: “It’s a great honour to be recognised and nominated for this award. I am particularly proud of the significant impact that satellite navigation systems have on everyone’s daily lives, even without them knowing, and I hope that this award helps us to continue to stress the vital importance of the technology we now take for granted.” 

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