UK STEM Special Points To Cornwall Launch Date28th Dec 2022
Spaceport Cornwall and UK online learning platform Learn Live announced that their launch special for UK schools will be broadcast on 24th January, 2023. The special, which Tim Peake hosts, is called a ‘deep dive’ into the UK space sector for school age children. The STEM special is part of the #COUNTDOWN2LAUNCH campaign.
Late January launch at the earliest
While the post does say that the date is subject to change, the fact that Spaceport Cornwall is involved might allow one to consider that the launch is not happening before the end of the month. Since notices to agencies regarding restrictions to air and sea traffic have not been issued yet, the earliest possible date would be 12th January.
Licensing issues may still need to be resolved. Spaceport Cornwall received its launch services licence in November. Virgin Orbit received its permits in December, which at 15 months after filing is three months sooner than the Civil Aviation Authority had estimated. However, it remains unclear whether the government has issued all of the required documents.
STEM special an opportunity of a lifetime
The upcoming Virgin Orbit launch and subsequent first vertical satellite launch from the UK are opportunities to engage young minds. Spaceport Cornwall is keen on taking this opportunity. In an interview with Orbital Today, Spaceport Cornwall CEO Melissa Thorpe noted that launches are good for attracting attention:
We knew that Space inspires and launch especially inspires children to go into careers in STEM, as we saw with the Apollo missions, and they didn’t even have an official outreach program.Melissa Thorpe, Spaceport Cornwall CEO
Spaceport Cornwall and other UK space industry entities are actively engaged in outreach to schools. In the interview, Melissa Thorpe also pointed out that current efforts are also beginning to lay out career paths for students interested in space and the companies that comprise the industry.
Industry observers note that the creation of the educational track for space-minded students will be necessary for the UK to fully utilize the infrastructure being put in place for satellite launch.