London Blog

Shoreditch Company Offering Bursaries For Space Science

London’s Old Street area is abuzz with young startups and techheads, nestled around an unprepossessing road feature ironically dubbed the ‘Silicon Roundabout’. But it’s not all PHP programmers and MySQL database manipulation.

Avanti Communications, based on Rivington Street, have just announced an initiative to help produce the next generation of space scientists. They’ll offer annual bursaries of £3000 to five students entering courses in astrophysics, astronomy, space science or physics, as well as providing work experience and mentoring. The students will also receive a half-year contract with Avanti once they graduate.

The company are hot property at the moment, after launching a broadband satellite last November. They hope this new initiative will help fill gaps in the UK’s space sector, which is a world leader in satellite technology. Four of the bursaries will be granted to young people from low income backgrounds.

While we’re talking space, here’s a bit of Friday fun. As part of the Yuri Gagarin celebrations last Tuesday, I delivered a short quiz about space travel. The top score (from a room of about 80 people), was 9 out of 10. See how well you can do:

1. Which country is usually credited with the invention of the rocket in the 13th Century?

2. The Nazis were the first to reach the edge of space, with their V2 rockets that rained down on London and other cities during WW2. But what unlikely vegetable did they distil the alcohol fuel from?

3. What was the name of the mission that launched Yuri Gagarin into space 50 years ago today?

4. The first Americans in space included Alan Sheperd, Virgil Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper. Which popular TV series featured five characters with the same first names as these men?

5. What class of missions came between the Mercury 1-man flights and the A. Apollo 3-men flights in the US space programme?

6. In what year did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon?

7. The first space shuttle flight took place 30 years ago today. Which space shuttle made the maiden flight?

8. Name the Russian-built space station constructed between 1986 and 1996.

9. Which nation became the third to independently launch a human into space in 2003?

10. Why might space fans be interested in number 6 Half-moon Street, Mayfair?

TIE-BREAKER: To the nearest metre, how Space Station along its longest axis?


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