Launch Diaries

European Astrotech's Inaugural Summer Space Camp - Day 2

2017-08-13 15:03:18

Day 2

After a hectic and whirlwind day 1 we started day 2 with a calmer and more reassured atmosphere, day 1 had been a success and this had given us confidence in approaching the final day. The cadets had spent a day with us already so they were more inquisitive and confident in asking questions. A quick presentation by Sammy on the outcome of the previous days HAB launch and the video of the flight started the day off. We welcomed Philippa Davies, Turbo machinery Team Leader at Reaction Engines who gave the first presentation on the next generation of supersonic jet engines being designed by Reaction Engines, that will be tested right here in Westcott. 

Philippa Davies from Reaction Engines

Next up was Dr Harin Sellahewa form the University of Buckingham. Dr Sellahewa is the Head of Computer Science and gave the cadets an introduction into remote sensing and how data from satellites can be used to inform governments about urban planning and the effects of natural disasters on the environment. Dr Sellahewa also brought along two Microsoft Hololens headsets for the cadets to experience augmented reality and to discuss how AR will be used in the future of work and education. There was also a lot of enjoyment watching others flail around in space as they interacted with invisible objects. 

Two cadets trying on Microsoft Hololenses. 

Our last speaker of space camp was Dave Boxall from Cameroon Balloons, talking about his stories working on round the world balloon challenge for a Russian adventurer. Dave talked about the engineering requirements for a balloon that will circumnavigate the world and travel through day and night as well as the logistical nightmares of completing a round the world balloon flight. Not only does Dave work on round the world balloons he also has the job of re-panting Minion hot air balloons.

Dave Boxall from Cameroon Balloons

After lunch the cadets went on a tour of NAMMO, a rocket manufacturer and tester, they were shown how the rockets are designed to inject fuel and oxidiser in the optimum way to burn, vibration testing of a rocket engine that will be on one of the entries to Google's project Luna mission and the site where they measure fuel consumption of a rocket, no where near as good as your average car mind you.

After the tour we had more workshops and we were thankful that we didn't have to launch a balloon on day 2 and that the workshops were smaller in scope than the 3, 2, 1, Rocket Pi from Day 1. The first workshop was an introduction to how antennas work, aka how we get the internet signals on our phones, by going through the basics of GPS antennas that allow us to track our balloon. After learning how we convert electromagnetic signals in to electronic signals the cadets were set the challenge of making a YAGI antenna which they would then need to use to locate a payload antenna made and hidden by one of the other teams. 

Next up was a SCAPE / relay competition, two teams of three had to compete in a relay race to connect up a number of valves and pipe work before connecting to the FLE case that we use in fuelling satellites. One member from each group had to wear one of our SCAPE suits that allow us to stay safe when we fuel satellites but they are cumbersome and strange and we wanted to give the cadets a feeling of our experience when fuelling satellites. 

The last workshop was a demonstration of chemical reactions with the tried and tested mentos and coke bottle rocket to end the day of workshops. The last thing to do was present the cadets with their Bronze award from the Industrial Cadets and Mike Falconer gave a quick talk on the benefits that being part of the Industrial Cadets gives the cadets, when it comes to pursuing STEM careers. 

Mike Falconer from the Industrial Cadets


The experience of running a Space Camp for the first time ever is daunting and when your day job is predominately engineering and not event management was a steep learning curve. However the feedback we got from the cadets was brilliant and validated all the hard work put into this project by the Space Balloon team at European Astrotech. This event could not have happened without the generosity and passion of the speakers, companies and most importantly the space cadets. The camp may not have gone smoothly but the lessons learnt from our inaugural Space Camp will be invaluable to future events.

From everyone on the Space Balloon team we would like to thank the following:

Ed Moore and Airbourne Engineering -
Professor Bob Parkinson and Cranfield University -
Mary McIntyre and Astrophotography Courses -
Phillippa Davies and Reaction Engines -
Dr Harin Sellahewa and University of Buckingham -
Dave Boxall and Cameron Balloons -

Pi-Top -
Nammo -
Westcott Venture Park -
Industrial Cadets -
Your Print Solution -