The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres and the UK Space Agency have joined forces with five Science Centres across the UK to deliver a new education programme to engage and inspire school children, families and communities with the UK’s growing space sector.
The Government’s Spaceflight Programme, LaunchUK, aims to launch small satellites from a number of proposed commercial spaceport sites in Scotland, Cornwall and North Wales.
This new education programme will deliver hands-on science activities, family shows, festival events, and curriculum-linked school workshops in areas of the UK closest to the proposed spaceports, to help share all the exciting developments of the UK’s space journey with children and families living in these regions.
From mapping the depths of the world’s oceans and measuring global temperatures to instant credit card authorisation, small satellites support a host of important applications that we rely on every second of every day. As our demand for this type of data increases, so too will demand for small satellites, which all need to be launched into space from somewhere. To harness this growing need, the Government’s Spaceflight Programme, LaunchUK, aims to kick-start small satellite launch and sub-orbital spaceflight from UK spaceports.
This new space education programme extends ASDC’s Destination Space Programme, being run by 13 science centres and museums in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. These science centres have recently been trained and given equipment to deliver all the specially-created space activities to over 200,000 children and adults in their cities and regions throughout 2020. This exciting new education and community initiative takes these space activities to the geographically remote and rural regions closest to the proposed spaceports so families and schools will not miss out on these inspirational learning and engagement opportunities.
This programme follows on from the huge success of the Destination Space 1 education programme. This national STEM programme was created and run by ASDC and funded by the UK Space Agency and ran from 2014 to 2017. Overall it engaged, inspired and involved families with school-age children, school groups, teachers and communities with the amazing stories and science of Tim Peake's Principia mission. Overall 914,646 children and adults participated in our schools workshops, family shows, and meet the expert events with 2.1 million people taking part in all the exhibitions and activities.
Dr Penny Fidler, the CEO of ASDC and Programme Director of Destination Space said:
“This is a really exciting time for space in the UK. We have spaceports being built here in the next few years, we play a world-leading role in building our own satellites, and brilliant innovative ideas to use the satellite data are being thought up all the time. We are delighted to be sharing all these latest innovations, including their role in understanding our environment, with children, families and the public across the UK, and are striving to inspire the next round of UK space entrepreneurs.”
The spaceports are also expected to bring both jobs and growth in areas where they are located, as well as nationwide in related areas of satellite manufacture, space applications, space technology and engineering more generally.
The following five UK Science Centres have been selected to bring this exciting new national space programme to children and families in rural and remote communities near the proposed UK Spaceports:
Aberdeen Science Centre, Aberdeen
Glasgow Science Centre, Glasgow
Techniquest Glyndŵr, Wrexham, North Wales
Eden Project, Cornwall
The Newton rooms: Highlands and Islands Enterprises, 3 locations in North Scotland