The government has opened the gates to a new cash pot for young space entrepreneurs, ahead of the country’s first-ever launches from UK soil this year.
The £50,000 prize money up for grabs will see entrepreneurs between the ages of 11 and 22 present their ideas to a panel of ‘dragons’ from across the UK Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult and the European Space Agency (ESA).
“Britain is set to become the first nation in Europe to offer small satellite launch, building on our world-leading satellite manufacturing industry,” science minister George Freeman said, with Cornwall’s spaceport hosting the landmark event before Shetland’s SaxaVord Spaceport launch and the Space Hub in Sutherland.
“Seeing satellites launch from the UK for the first time will be a huge moment for the UK space tech sector.”
The SatelLife Competition is designed to inspire the next generation of British space scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, Freeman explained.
Previous winners pitched ideas such as drones carrying medical suppliers and a pin badge to monitor air pollution.
British ESA astronaut Tim Peake said: “Satellites are playing a huge role in our daily lives, from monitoring climate change, to watching television and I know that young people will have some fantastic ideas for new ways they can improve our lives.
“I can’t wait to see what they come up with, the possibilities are endless.”