Space Day

VR BusONE hundred and fifty West Cumbrian Year 9 students headed to Lakes College Campus and took one giant leap into the world of Space and Virtual Reality courtesy of the REACT Foundation who celebrate fifteen years as a charity this year and REACT Engineering Limited who celebrate 25 years in business. The two organisations planned the spectacular event aimed at inspiring young people from West Cumbria into science and engineering.

The virtual reality adventure kicked off on Tim Peake’s Samsung VR Bus where students strapped on VR Gear and experienced Tim’s incredible descent from the International Space Station in stunning virtual reality. The students were able to experience the fabulous views from space and learn about the obstacles that an astronaut has to overcome when re-entering the atmosphere. The groups also undertook mission training, mixing rocket fuel, learn about the physics of space and filmed their very own spacewalk. Next stop was a visit to the National College for Nuclear on the campus. The colleges own Virtual Reality suite allowed the students to experience the compelling footage recorded during the ascent and descent of the Elevated Horizons Project. The footage was delivered by the teams from Cockermouth School and West Lakes Academy and showed the curvature of the earth from the very edge of space.

Next stop was a visit to REACT Engineering’s Design a Cumbrian Space Station Workshop. Teams were asked to think about habitation modules (for Solway webshelter, food, water, sleep and exercise), environmental control system (for air), solar power panels (for power), thermal control system (to get the correct temperature), air locks and docking points (for supply vessels and access for space walks), satellites (for communication) and navigation and propulsion systems. Kyle Hannah of REACT Engineering said. “It was a pleasure running the space station workshop as part of the space day. The enthusiasm, knowledge, creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the students was incredible, highlighting the talent and potential the local community possess.”

CM webUnder a planetarium globe, the students were also able to experience the footage of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon in 1969 and explored our Solar System concentrating on the possibilities of life elsewhere! There was an interactive talk from Starchaser with demonstrations and activities centring on the theme of propulsion, kicking off with a demonstration of Newtonian mechanics. RAF Spadeadam delivered a briefing on Cumbria’s own small part in the UK Space programme through the testing of Blue Streak at RAF Spadeadam in the late 1950’s.


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