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NPL partners with UK Space Agency on Space Rocket Challenges

New STEM initiative to engage future generations in space sector

  • Challenge includes a Space Rocket design competition, Launch and Land and a Space themed quiz
  • Activity to run until 30th June

LONDON, 15 JUNE 2020 -The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in partnership with the UK Space Agency (UKSA), is launching a new STEM initiative, Space Rocket Challenges. The challenges, taking place between 16-30 June, will give participants the chance to design their own space rocket, make a rocket at home and learn more about the UK’s space sector.

As the UK’s National Metrology Institute, NPL recognises the importance of promoting STEM activities and inspiring the next generation, UK Space Agency similarly engages with STEM based activity addressing the skills needs of the space sector and to raise awareness of the UK’s space programme and STEM subjects in general.

The restrictions faced by everyone in the last few months, means NPL are unable to run the 21st NPL Water Rocket Challenge in the usual format, but by turning it into a virtual rocket-based event, NPL hopes participants can still have fun, learn about science and the UK’s space sector and compete to win great prizes. 

There will be three challenges that are open to all ages and include, a Space Rocket design competition, Launch and Land challenge – as part of NPL’s regular Measurement at Home series and a space themed quiz.

Whether you’re a regular participant, or this is your first year, now is the time to get involved. Entries are welcome from individuals, teams, families, school - anyone who can stretch their imagination to infinity and beyond. Experts at NPL and UK Space Agency will judge all entries and prizes, including a 3D printed model of the winning rocket design and a tour of British Aerospace Manufacturer, Reaction Engines facility in Oxfordshire.

Andrew Hanson MBE, Outreach Manager, NPL said: “We've been running NPL Water Rockets for over 20 years, and in 2020 are super-excited to be teaming up with UKSA with several novel twists to engage a wide audience taking creative engineering into space. NPL’s outreach activity, whilst offering fun and engaging ways of interacting with STEM, is also key to raising the importance of STEM education and the relevance of measurement science to our everyday lives.”

Professor Richard Crowther, Chief Engineer, UK Space Agency said: “The UK has played a pioneering role in space science for over 50 years and today our ambition is to be Europe’s leading small satellite launch destination. We look forward to seeing the creativity and imagination of these young engineers. Perhaps one day they could be designing the rockets we see launching from UK spaceports, propelling us into a new era of space exploration.”

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