Powering the next generation of rocket scientists

The national Race2Space competition is well underway at the Westcott Space Cluster. 

The competition, which is organised by the University of Sheffield and supported by the UK Space Agency and the Buckinghamshire Enterprise Zone, runs from 4 to 18 July.

A rocket engine built by students being tested. Credit: Alistair John

Students from universities across the UK will hot-fire rocket engines they have designed and built, on a test stand at Westcott Space Cluster, which is home to the National Space Propulsion Test Facility.  

The aim is to inspire students and give them the skills needed to join the space industry, which already employs around 50,000 people.

The team from the University of Sheffield. Credit: Alistair John

Race2Space is also hosting a Student Rocket Engine Symposium on Thursday 18 July - a space sector education networking event where academics, students and industry will come together to see the results of the competition. The Satellite Applications Catapult is hosting this networking event and limited tickets are available via Eventbrite

Alistair John, Founder of Race2Space, said:  

UK Race2Space is about showing we have top class students who are willing, able and prepared to grow the space sector in the UK. We know we have the talent in the UK but to compete on the world stage we need to increase the number of passionate, highly skilled graduates entering the sector.

The competition aims not only to inspire students to pursue space science and engineering, but also to encourage a more diverse range of students to choose science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, aiming for careers in the rapidly growing £17.5 billion UK space sector.  

A host of rocketry organisations based at Westcott Venture Park will take part in the event including European Astrotech, Protolaunch and Airborne Engineering alongside the Satellite Applications Catapult

The competition is supported by the UK Space Agency and funded by sponsors including Buckinghamshire Council, the University of Sheffield, Satellite Applications Catapult, Skyrora, Civil Aviation Authority, Frazer Nash Consultancy and Rocket Engineering Ltd.

The team from the University of Southampton. Credit: Alistair John

Matt Peachey, Head of Enterprise Zone Development at Buckinghamshire Council, said:

We are pleased to support this event which is an important step towards increasing the skillset and knowledge of students to generate a pipeline of talent for the space industry, much of which we want to work here at Westcott. 

Specialist skills development linking industry with education is central to creating the conditions for innovation, excellence, and growth for our Buckinghamshire businesses. Supporting Race to Space demonstrates our commitment to developing the skills of the next generation of engineers and inspiring them to pursue space science and engineering careers here in Buckinghamshire.

For more information about the event please visit the Race2Space website.

seen at 16:36, 8 July in UK Space Agency blog.
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