24th May 2019
Out of this world idea wins funding in space competition
Biology teacher and STEM enthusiast, Dr Allen has been supporting STEM Science once again at Helston Community College. He has guided and advised a group of students in Year 7 who have won thousands of pounds in a competition to come up with ideas on how satellites can improve life on Earth, run by the UK Space Agency.
A Year 7 team from Helston Community College were runners-up in the team category, scooping £5,000 top help them develop their idea. They will now go on to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire in June in the hope of gaining further support to turn them into reality. In previous years this has led to job offers, extra funding and support to build prototypes.
Max Morgan, 11, Charlie Knott and Evie Mansfield, both 12, from Helston Community College, came up with an idea of how GPS trackers, that could either be attached to lifejackets, or deployed to passengers alongside oxygen masks in planes, could be deployed in the event of an emergency. The tracker would be linked to the seat number of the passenger, showing where individuals are in the event of a crash and assisting rescue services. The trackers would also collect biometric data, enabling the rescue services to prioritise survivors needing the most assistance.
Evie Mansfield said: “I felt really excited to win, but also really proud of my teammates. We plan to take our winning idea further to benefit other people’s lives and make people feel more comfortable using aircrafts as travel, making them feel safer knowing that our device will be able to keep them safe no matter what happens.
“This opportunity has made me think about having a job in the space industry. Knowing that maybe I could be the one to create more successful ideas like this and can save other people’s lives makes me want to have a job in the industry.”
Helston Community College science teacher James Allen, whose STEM club the students used to develop their idea, added: “I am incredibly proud of Charlie, Evie and Max. All of their research and development was carried out either during their lunch breaks or after school, and if they continue in the same way throughout school I'd confidently say that all three of them have a bright future in STEM.”
Space is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK and it is estimated an additional 30,000 new career opportunities could be created by 2030. Now in its third year, the SatelLife competition aims to encourage young people to think about how satellites impact our everyday lives and learn more about the careers available in the sector.
Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications at the UK Space Agency, said:
“The quality of entries this year was very high. We were particularly pleased to see such a wide variety of satellite applications being used. These young people clearly recognised the diversity of areas that satellites impact on our day-to-day lives.
“Once again, we were impressed by the inspiration and knowledge of young people. It’s fantastic to see them working so well in teams as this is a valuable skill in life and I look forward to seeing how they develop their ideas in the future.”
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