Rocket boost for Leeds students

ROCKET MAN: Steve Bennett (centre) with students and staff in front of the Skybolt Rocket.
ROCKET MAN: Steve Bennett (centre) with students and staff in front of the Skybolt Rocket.
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University Technical College (UTC) Leeds students have explored space technology in an innovative rocket-inspired educational event, supported by leading scientists.

Rockets Week brought space rocket, technology and engineering experts to the students for a series of talks and hands-on workshops.

The event saw students explore the dark side of the universe, solar telescopes, the anatomy of a star, how to get a rocket into space, as well as take part in propulsion, space vehicle design and Mars Rover workshops.

It included a visit from Steve Bennett, chief executive of Starchaser Industries, who provided demonstrations on the physics of space flight and the chemistry of rocket propellants. His eight-metre rocket, called Skybolt 2, was parked outside the UTC.

Earlier this year the rocket flew to an altitude of 4,000ft with science experiments on board.

Mr Bennett, who has ambitions to promote space tourism, said: “The UK needs more scientists and engineers and there’s a lot of career opportunities in the space industry. Many young people don’t understand what engineering actually involves, and the exciting careers available.

“Events like this aim to inspire the next generation.

Dewsbury-born Tim Gregory, from BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, spoke to students about his experience of taking part in the programme and about his current research on the solar system for his PhD, and his career ambitions.

He said: “It’s always a privilege to meet young people and spark their interest in science.” Space exploration, and science, technology, engineering and maths experts from several other organisations also took part.

The 14th century solar block at Calverley Old Hall. Picture: John Miller

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