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A Royal Question for a British Astronaut

The National Space Centre, home to the National Space Academy, yesterday welcomed Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to meet with a small number of students and staff as they begin a very exciting educational year.

The Countess of Wessex joined British astronaut Helen Sharman at the National Space Centre as part of World Space Week to meet a small number of students from the National Space Academy Space Engineering course, which this year has seen a significant growth in applications, leading to a second student group being added for the first time.

The visit included a live Q&A session with Helen, that was transmitted (via space satellites) to a worldwide audience online.

Questions were kicked off by Her Royal Highness, who asked about inspiring the next generation of children.

The National Space Academy

In 2012 the National Space Academy established the UK’s first full-time post-16 course for students in Space Engineering. It is the only course of its kind, unique both in its subject matter and in its combination of BTEC qualifications with traditional A Levels.

More than 80% of its students, the majority having no family history of progression into Higher Education, have gone on to study degree-level University courses in physics or engineering or Higher Apprenticeship programmes with some of Europe’s leading aerospace and engineering companies including Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Several students who have finished their undergraduate and MSc courses have been awarded first-class degrees.

With the success of the course and significant career opportunities within a thriving UK space industry, this year there will be two cohorts of Space Engineering students to meet demand for places.

The Academy is part funded by the National Space Centre, the UK Space Agency and the Lloyds Register Foundation, with additional support from The Ogden Trust and PPG.