Students enjoy looking into space at Leicester University

30 young people attended the Smallpeice Trust’s residential course at the Space Research Centre

The University of Leicester hosted a National Space Academy masterclass earlier this month, when 30 students aged 15-16 gathered for a residential course centred on space, science and engineering.

In timely fashion, with celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 barely concluded, participants learned all about the scientific methodology behind the Moon landing.

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Other challenges on the August 12-14 course, run by the Smallpeice Trust, included building copper heat shields and testing them with blow torches, and designing rockets to fire into the sky.

National Space Centre

The hosts know of what they speak when it comes to all things cosmological; Leicester University’s Space Research Centre is involved in a variety of missions – to Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and deep space – and has had an instrument operating in space for more than 50 years.

Indeed, one of the lectures on offer concerned the general mission analysis tool, used by a variety of space organisations – including NASA – to build instrumentation.

Attendees were also given a tour of exhibits in the space centre, and watched a planetarium show giving an overview of the various nations involved in the space race.

The residential course was supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition 1851, the National Space Academy and the National Space Centre.

More information about the National Space Centre is available at