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Viasat launches competition to find UK’s future space experts

Viasat has launched its ‘Viasat Beyond: Space’ competition to support the next generation of UK engineers, artists, space lovers and scientists.

Image courtesy Viasat

Students in years 12 and 13 (or their equivalent in Scotland) from schools around the UK will work individually or in groups of up to three and submit their creative ideas to support a safe and sustainable UK space sector. During the final stage of the competition, students will be mentored by Viasat staff with a variety of backgrounds and with diverse specialisms to help build both their ideas and speaking skills – before finalists pitch to a panel of expert judges.

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Students working together to create a technology prototype to support a safe and sustainable UK space sector Students working together to create a technology prototype to support a safe and sustainable UK space sector

The competition was opened for students to register during World Space Week 2023 at the beginning of October. All entrants must complete the registration process and submit their responses to the first assignment in writing between 6th November 2023 and 7th January 2024 by 11:59 p.m. (British Summer Time).

A shortlist of 30 individual participants/teams will then compete in a digital round, before the final five pitch their ideas at Viasat’s new international headquarters in London in April 2024.

Each of the five finalists will receive a range of prizes, including an opportunity to participate in a Viasat sustainable space experience week, meeting international colleagues working or with experience in STEM. The top three will also be awarded education grants: £7,500 each for first place, £3,570 each for second place, and £1,875 each for third place.

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Students will be invited to build their submissions around the theme of developing a safe and sustainable space UK space sector. This means students will be able to pitch policy or research topics, technology ideas with prototypes, or commercial or design solutions that could help protect the space environment.

Viasat is working with education specialists Springpod to develop the competition, with a special focus on promoting entries from students from all backgrounds. The competition comes after Viasat’s expansion in the UK following its acquisition of UK-based satellite firm Inmarsat in May 2023. The combined company provides satellite communications with a global footprint, with its international headquarters set to open in London in 2024.

“Space is a global commons that we all rely on, so it’s incredibly important we use that shared resource in an equitable and sustainable way,” John Reeves, Managing Director of Global Affairs at Viasat, said. “This competition is about engaging, training, and captivating the next generation of space champions - so they can help the UK lead the way in protecting and growing a sustainable space economy.”

“This competition provides an incredible opportunity for students to get hands-on experience and mentorship from industry experts at Viasat,” said Sam Hyams, CEO of Springpod. “We are committed to making this an inclusive program that is accessible to all students regardless of background. By tapping into the creativity and passion of these young people, we hope to uncover innovative solutions that will drive a more sustainable and prosperous space industry in the UK and beyond. We encourage all eligible students to apply and look forward to seeing the exciting ideas they bring to the table.”
 

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