At the UK’s most southerly location, on a site fit for a James Bond movie, a
resurrection place. has been The Goonhilly taking satellite
communication base, home of “Arthur”, the dish which was built to link with the Telstar satellite in 1962, has been rumbling back to life. A team of engineers and physicists has been working on the second life for the site which will have a huge impact on the world of STEM in Cornwall and beyond. Cornwall College and other key stakeholders in the county have been involved in the developments.
Des Prouse - retired engineer and former head of technology with BT at Goonhilly gives Cornwall College STEM an insight into the plans.
It’s often said that the best way to attract young people into science is through space and dinosaurs. The role of space in inspiring people of all ages to study engineering and
science can certainly be
corroborated by the feedback over many years from visits by families and groups of schoolchildren who came to see and hear about the giant antennas (‘dishes’) formerly used for commercial satellite communications
Goonhilly on the Lizard Peninsula in the far south of Cornwall.
Recently announced plans by a private company, Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) Ltd, to establish the Goonhilly Space Science
will position the site as a practical and operational exemplar of the importance to future UK economic well-being of linking STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and maths. The intention is to use the wonders of Goonhilly and space to inspire future generations to study not just for a career in the space industry but also
rewarding roles in the exciting world of science and engineering in general.
Gateway will use Goonhilly’s largest dishes
science research (including radio astronomy) and also
space communications, creating an opportunity for the UK to have a much more active role in future international space missions to Mars and beyond (with Cornwall once again at the hub of the communications network!).
The Open Innovation Centre will provide a practical environment at Goonhilly to allow knowledge exchange between universities and other
learning institutions, and space-sector related businesses.
A new Visitor Centre experience will promote the space industry, using space-themed content, showcased in an operational environment, to
provide an enthralling new
experience aimed at inspiring future generations to take a far greater interest in STEM subjects.
GES Ltd has developed the Goonhilly Space Science Park project proposal over the past three years and is eagerly awaiting the result of its July 2011 application for £6.85m from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to speed up the redevelopment of the site and help to create around 750 jobs within the next 10 years, many local to Goonhilly.
This aligns with the UK Space Innovation & Growth Strategy to grow 100,000 new scientific and engineering jobs by 2030 in the high-value space-sector industries and GES Ltd has attracted the support of major organisations in this sector, including defence- contractor QinetiQ. The UK Space Agency will also take an interest in the activities if approved.
The Space Science Park proposal has four coherent and complementary space-themed elements, each one benefiting Cornwall and the UK.
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