Mission Virgin Galactic
Today The Royal Aeronautical Society, The Royal Air Force and Virgin Galactic launched ‘MISSION VIRGIN GALACTIC’ a truly innovative National Schools Competition
Today The Royal Aeronautical Society, The Royal Air Force and Virgin Galactic launched ‘MISSION VIRGIN GALACTIC’ a truly innovative National Schools Competition.
Mission Virgin Galactic will be open to all 11 – 14 year old students (Key Stage 3) across the UK and has been designed with the backing of education experts to fit within and complement the national curriculum. The aim of the competition is to inspire pupils in the areas of science, math, technology and engineering in a fun and exciting way.
Working in teams of four to six pupils, the challenge is to design a marketable product that demonstrates one or more of the science, technology or engineering principles used in the Virgin Galactic space tourism programme.
And the grand prize … the winning team and its teacher will be flown to the US as guests of Virgin Galactic where they will enjoy a tour of the Mojave spaceport and spend time chatting and learning from the engineers who have built WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. The winning team will get the chance to witness history in the making by getting the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a flight of SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceship. The team will be accompanied by Sir Richard Branson and have the chance to ask him first hand why he believes that one day space travel will be open to all.
Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic commented: “I am delighted Virgin Galactic are working on this schools competition with the RAF and the Royal Aeronautical Society. Mission Virgin Galactic sets out to reinvigorate interest in the sheer excitement of recent developments in engineering and their context to new technologies in aerospace and transportation generally. We have to find solutions to the issues this planet faces and it will only be through a new generation of enthusiastic and environmentally conscious young engineers, entrepreneurs and scientists that we will achieve it. Hopefully, the lure of one day going to space can help to spur that spirit.”
Throughout history prizes and competitions have been used to ignite the imaginations of nations. There have been many, many times in history that private sector companies and governments have put up prizes to encourage development in many areas. The automobile industry was encouraged to grow through inducements by The Chicago Herald Tribune. The first crossing of the Channel and the Atlantic by plane was greatly encouraged by The Daily Mail prize. And the Spitfire was the result of the Schneider Trophy.
During these times the young people of the nations involved were fascinated by the technology and the characters involved in making these dreams reality – the RAS, the RAF and Virgin Galactic hope that through Mission Virgin Galactic young people within British schools will come to realize the exciting realities that are achieved through developments and expertise in science, technology and math. It is hoped that by using the birth of a new era in space travel in a fun and innovative way that this competition will ignite the imagination of 11 – 14 year olds across the UK.
The judges of Mission Virgin Galactic will be looking for creativity and innovation and as a result want to ensure that students realize the wide scope of the competition. As long as their product idea touches on one of the principles involved in the Virgin Galactic spaceflight it will be eligible. It could be a toy or a game, something for use in the house, a hi-tech gadget or even something a Virgin Galactic astronaut could use at the spaceport or during a flight. The possibilities are endless.
Through www.missionvirgingalactic.com everyone can join in whether pupils or teachers at a school who may not have entered a team or the ‘young-at-heart’ parents at home who wish they could enter! Everyone is permitted to sign up as a Galactic Knight and enjoy the interactive, fun and informative areas of the website.
Supporter, Actor – Ewan McGregor, congratulated the team on the launch of Mission Virgin Galactic: “This is a fantastic way of engaging school children in space travel and making all of the various academic disciplines they will have to call upon to compete exciting and fun. I will definitely be signing myself and my children up as Galactic Knights and can’t wait to see what product wins at the grand final!”
2008 – 2009 will be the first year of Mission Virgin Galactic with the hope that by 2011 all UK schools will be signed up and be competing for this amazing prize. Going forward the plan will be to extend the competition to schools across America, Europe and the rest of the world with a Grand Draw (from all the winning teams in the pervious years) eventually being held to give the chance of a winning team to go to space!
For more information please go to www.missionvirgingalactic.com
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