Space-themed summer school celebrates 30 years

The residential programme, Space School UK, is aimed at 13–18-year-olds interested in ‘all things space’

Space School UK, a residential summer school held at the University of Leicester, is celebrating its 30-year anniversary.

The week-long programme is aimed at students aged 13­­–18 with an interest in anything to do with space, from astronomy and planetary science to engineering and space medicine. The programme includes two distinct programmes, one for 13–15-year olds, and one for 16–18-year-olds.


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Founded in 1989, Space School UK gives students the opportunity to hear lectures from space professionals and take part in lab experiments. They are also provided with ‘astronaut training’ which includes indoor skydiving and scuba diving challenges, and can compete in a rocketry competition, camp outside, and visit the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Dr Tracey Dickens, director of Space School UK, said: “As we look back at the Apollo 11 Moon landings that happened 50 years ago, we are looking to the future. We know that our students are the future of the space industry – many of our alumni already work in organisations such as the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency.

Attending Space School UK at a teenager gave me the push to follow my dream of working in the space industry.
– Heidi Thiemann, senior mentor and Space School UK alumna

“Spending a ‘week in space’ gives students the platform to meet professionals working in the field, and stretch their understanding of space and future career paths. Space School UK is a fantastic opportunity for young scientists to fully immerse themselves in a topic they love, and to build friendships which will last them a lifetime.”

All mentors at Space School UK have previously been attendees, and all work or study in the space sector.

Heidi Thiemann, senior mentor and alumna of the University of Leicester, said: “Attending Space School UK at a teenager gave me the push to follow my dream of working in the space industry. I have fond memories of spending summer building rockets and getting stuck into lectures and astronomy.

“Now, as a mentor at Space School UK, I love encouraging young people to follow their space dreams.”


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Over its 30-year span, Space School UK has welcomed over 3,000 students, with esteemed alumni including Libby Jackson, manager of human spaceflight at the UK Space Agency and Dr Rhaana Starling, associate professor in astrophysics at the University of Leicester.

Registration for the 2020 programme opens in August 2019 and costs £450. More information is available at www.spaceschool.co.uk