World Space Week celebrated by the Catapult

Remote Sensing was the theme for World Space Week this year and the Satellite Applications Catapult welcomed 60 students from local Oxfordshire schools to Harwell to participate in a hands-on activity-packed day. With support from Catapult STEM Ambassadors and the National Space Academy, the students were treated to a series of talks and activities highlighting the role satellites, and in particular remote sensing, have in their everyday lives.

The day’s activities included constructing a real life microsatellite called UBO, measuring the speed of light building a temperature sensor using an Arduino microcomputer; and an interactive series of demonstrations of the applications of Earth observation (EO) data. Each of the activities providing the students with analogue examples of the science and technology involved in remote sensing.

To complement the activities, students toured of the operations room to see a real working example of remotes sensing: tracking illegal fishing vessels. They were also given a talk on by an EO specialist and a space careers talk to give students a better understanding of the huge variety of careers available to them within the space industry.

World Space Week is the celebration of two monumental events in the history of the space programme. Held from 4-10 October each year, the week celebrates the launch of Sputnik – the first official satellite into orbit – on 4 October 1957, and the entry into law of the Outer Space Treaty on 10 October 1967.

The day was a great success with teachers expressing their appreciation. “Great staff, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic,” said one, while student feedback included “It was a great day full of cool information’.”

Christopher Duff, the STEM Engagement Manager at the Satellite Application Catapult, said: “The day helped showcase the Catapult’s work and promote space careers to the students, particularly with the support of our STEM Ambassadors, who each have a unique pathway of their own into the space sector. The day was to help the students take a journey, with the narrative taking them from understanding the technology behind a satellite and sensor, through to how the data is processed, to the ways in which it can be used to solve societal problems.”

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