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St Austell schoolgirls win £5k in UK Space Agency competition

St Austell schoolgirls win £5k in UK Space Agency competition

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 11:12am 16th July 2020.

Three schoolgirls from St Austell have won £5k in a Space Agency competition, with their idea on how satellites can improve life on Earth.

Penrice Academy students Grace Gordon, Emmy Lovegrove and Maddie Watson won the runner-up prize in the UK Space Agency's  SatelLife Competition for their idea ‘Safely’.

The innovative idea looks at creating a wristband to support the 20 million UK attendees at festivals every year.

As well as being used as a payment mechanism, the band would have a feature for friends to find each other using GPS location.

An additional feature of an emergency SOS function would notify festival management and their next of kin if someone were to get into trouble. 

"After some research, we realise what a huge problem safety is at festivals as they attract big crowds of people and communication is never great. We would love to take our project further as we feel it would be beneficial to the future of festivals as we know it.

“This process has made us see how creative and imaginative science can get and how you can use it for a range of useful purposes.” 

15-year-old Grace Gordon from St Austell

Ideas in the competition ranged from apps that predict crop health, to contact tracing in a pandemic, and those closer to home could see their lives improved with a wrist band to guide and support those with dementia.

The SatelLife Competition aims to encourage young people to think about how satellites can enhance our everyday lives and learn more about the diverse carers available in the sector.    

Grace Gordon UK Space Agency competition
Grace Gordon, student at Penrice Academy in St Austell

“Satellites are essential to everyday activities. When data collected by satellites are applied creatively, we can look to solve many of the problems we face on Earth.    

“The UK space sector is an exciting place to work, and jobs in space are not just for astronauts. Careers include analysts, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs, I do not doubt that in the future these exceptional young people will be at the front of the line for these jobs.”  

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake

The next step for these successful winners is to pitch their ideas to a panel of ‘dragons’ at the Harwell Space Cluster in October for the chance to win further prizes.

Previous awards have included additional funding, patent advice and invitations to discuss job opportunities as well as introductions to the other relevant experts for further help. 

The SatelLife competition has seen previous winners go on to careers in the space sector and continue to develop their idea into reality.  

Young people from Cornwall have enjoyed plenty of success in the SatelLife Competition in recent years. In 2019 Treviglas Academy students Judd Phillips, Calvin Hulance , Matthew Old and Joel Armstrong from Newquay, won £7,500 for their idea of an app to allow people to find and rate public toilets as well as reserve them for people in need with hidden disabilities. 

In 2018 Ellie Jones, Jessica Knight, Summer Jeffery, and Emily Haddrell, from Truro, won £7,500 for their concept of ‘Surf Safe’. A wrist band that uses satellite location data and communications services to identify the locations of swimmers and surfers combined with tidal and rip tide data to provide real time tracking and the location of those in danger. 

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