Department for Transport
UK Space Agency: Glasgow students win £600,000 climate satellite design competition
A team from the University of Glasgow has won a government-run competition to develop a climate change satellite for launch from the UK.
The 10 students designed a satellite to analyse shorelines and coastal vegetation to help scientists and policymakers understand the impact of climate change on coastal regions, as part of the Nanosat Design Competition, run by the UK Space Agency and Department for Transport.
The winning team from Glasgow, named OirthirSAT, beat more than 40 teams from across the UK, aged between 16 and 37, with the judges praising their entry for identifying a clear way to tackle climate change and test new technologies.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently said:
With satellite launches due to start from home soil this year, there is no better time to support the next generation of space experts in developing satellites to support our mission against climate change.
My congratulations go to OirthirSAT and everyone shortlisted for their hard work throughout this competition, and I applaud the innovation all the teams have shown throughout.
The UK is set to become the first country in Europe to host small satellite launches in 2022, building on the UK’s leading small satellite industry and creating high skilled jobs across the country. This will also help UK scientists use space technology to help tackle global challenges, including climate change.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, recently said:
Satellite technology plays a crucial role in monitoring our climate and it is fantastic to see so many innovative ideas to help tackle the most pressing issue facing our planet. My congratulations go to the winners from the University of Glasgow for their excellent design.
The countdown to the first satellite launch from UK soil is on and this will be a historic year for our space sector. Being the first country in Europe to offer launch will boost our satellite industry further, creating hundreds of new jobs across the UK.
The Nanosat Design Competition opened in November 2021, with aspiring space scientists invited to design a small satellite suitable for launch from the UK to help inform solutions to climate change.
Five teams were chosen from the initial entries to go through to the final stage, which included a four-month mentoring programme with space sector experts. The OirthirSAT team was announced as overall winners at a ceremony with UK Space Agency CEO Dr Paul Bate and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, during the Farnborough International Airshow recently (Friday 22nd July 2022).
Freya Muir, a PhD student at the University of Glasgow on the OirthirSAT team, recently said:
We’re really proud to have won the competition and have our hard work recognised by the sector.
This is an incredible opportunity, and it’s hugely exciting to be able to develop our winning design to help protect the coast against climate change.
Members of the OirthirSAT team, from the University of Glasgow, with European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer at the Farnborough International Airshow. Credit: UK Space Agency
The four other finalists came from Reliance Precision Engineering, in Huddersfield, Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, the University of Kent and the University of Southampton.
Glasgow’s OirthirSAT team will use the prize money to build their satellite with ongoing support from the competition’s mentors, to help develop their proposal from design to build, with a view to launching from the UK in the coming years.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart recently said:
Congratulations to the University of Glasgow students behind this innovative satellite design. I look forward to seeing how this UK Government funding helps bring their fantastic ideas to life.
With satellites playing an ever-greater role in monitoring and helping combat climate change, it’s inspiring to see Scotland’s next generation of scientists exploring new ways that space technology can help us understand our environment.
Scotland’s space sector is booming, and now accounts for around one fifth (18%) of the UK space workforce, according to the latest figures. Scotland will also host the UK’s first vertical small satellite launches next year, from the SaxaVord and Sutherland spaceports.
Levelling up the space sector is a key priority for the UK Space Agency and there are now 1,293 space organisations located across the UK. Spaceports are set to increase jobs further in the coming years, alongside the growth of regional space clusters, international investment, and emerging technologies such as in-space manufacturing and debris removal.
The winning team:
- Joe Gibbs, PhD, Aerospace Sciences
- Diego Hidalgo De Las Heras, MEng Aeronautical Engineering
- Georgios Tita, MEng Electronics and Electrical Engineering
- Freya Muir, PhD in Geographical and Earth Science (Coastal Modelling)
- Theodoros Serghiou, MEng Electronics and Electrical Engineering
- Ignacio Serrano Martín-Sacristán, BEng Aerospace Engineering
- Gregor MacAskill, MEng Aeronautical Engineering
- Civan Doǧan, Computing Science
- Nektarios Chari, MEng Mechanical Engineering
- Natalia Ibagón Sánchez, MSc Robotics and AI
The competition judges:
- Andrew Ratcliffe, Chief Engineer at the UK Space Agency
- Dr Suzie Imber, Associate Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Leicester
- Anita Bernie, Managing Director, MDA UK
- Liz Seward, Head of Space Strategy, BAE Systems
- Professor John Remedios, Director of the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) hosted within the Earth Observation Science group at the University of Leicester
- Dr Merritt Moore, quantum physicist and professional ballerina
- Professor Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science, University College London
Latest News from
Department for Transport
Transport Secretary calls for international action to decarbonise global aviation28/09/2022 13:10:00
Anne-Marie Trevelyan will tell countries worldwide to reduce aviation carbon emissions at the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly today.
Deadline extended on A47/A11 Thickthorn junction development consent order22/09/2022 16:10:00
Deadline on decision extended due to the National Mourning period.
Sailor who restored hundred-year-old steamship recognised with achievement award06/09/2022 10:10:10
Recipients of the 2022 Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service announced.
£2 bus fare cap across England to save passengers money05/09/2022 14:20:00
Government to provide up to £60 million from January to March next year, to help bus operators to cap single adult fares at £2 per journey.
Ministers meet to continue work on tackling winter pressures31/08/2022 15:26:00
Ministers from across government have met this week to drive forward preparatory work for tackling pressures this winter
Future of London’s transport network secured with government’s multi-billion pound settlement31/08/2022 11:20:00
Funding will also support modernisation and network upgrades.
Government launches review of Civil Aviation Authority to strengthen regulator for the future30/08/2022 15:15:00
An independent review of the CAA will ensure the provision of world-leading civil aviation regulation and public services for decades to come.
Fuelling a greener future – E10 petrol rolling out in Northern Ireland on 1 November 202230/08/2022 12:15:00
Greener petrol rolled out to help Northern Ireland decarbonise transport.