School children in UK to design an experiment with Micro Satellites

School children in UK to design an experiment with Micro Satellites

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London, UK, 13 December 2007 – The British National Space Centre (BNSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) are conducting a contest that will provide school children between the ages of 14 and 18 will be provided an opportunity to design and launch a micro satellite. According to a report on BBC News website, this contest is aimed at increasing the interest of
children towards space sciences.

The competition was the brainchild of Dr Stuart Eves, who proposed the idea at a BNSC meeting convened to discuss raising the public profile of UK space activities. Dr Eves said that the experiment could, for example, aim to measure some aspect of the Earth’s atmosphere or meteorology, or even test some novel form of space propulsion, but he encouraged students to be creative.

With developmental budget of up to £100,000, the winning experimental package should be about the size of a lunch box, weighing no more than 1kg. The deadline for receiving initial proposals is 28 February 2008.

In March, entries will be whittled down to a shortlist of six finalists who will then be invited to submit more detailed proposals. The winning proposal will be announced at the congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Glasgow in October 2008.

Students will be judged on a five-page mission proposal, in which they are required to address the following questions:

  • The purpose of the experiment
  • What data the entrants expect to collect
  • How the data would be used
  • How the experiment would advance space science or technology

    The finished experimental package will be flown on an SSTL mission scheduled for the 2010 timeframe.