Portsmouth student who devised satellite trolley-tracking idea urges others to enter competition run by UK Space Agency

YOUNG PEOPLE across the city are being offered the chance to take part in a competition which is out of this world.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 10:09 am
Emily Gravestock, head of applications at the UK Space Agency.

The UK Space Agency wants young people between the ages of 11 and 22 to share their ideas of how satellites can be used to improve life on earth. Now in its fourth year the SatelLife Competition is looking for innovative ideas to promote economic development, improve global health and tackle climate change.

Last year’s winning idea looked at how satellites could be used to track abandoned supermarket trolleys which were costing supermarkets money and creating a potential environmental issue.

As a result of her success, winner, Lowena Hull, an A-Level student at Portsmouth High School, is due to meet with a major supermarket chain to further develop her idea.

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Lowena Hull, 17, who won last year's competition.

Lowena, 17 and from Rowlands Castle, said: ‘Since winning the SatelLife Competition I’ve had interest in my idea so that shows that anything can happen if you enter. SatelLife is such an amazing opportunity and it’s a great introduction for young people to the space sector.’

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Other winning ideas included fighting crime with drones and designing a mobile app to locate public toilets. After Lowena’s success, competition organisers hope for more groundbreaking ideas from the city’s youngsters.

Emily Gravestock, head of applications at the UK Space Agency, said: ‘The UK is a world leader in building satellites and space is an important part of the Portsmouth economy. The use of data from space can solve many of the challenges we face on earth. We’ve seen in previous years that Portsmouth has plenty of talented young people with fantastic ideas, so I’d urge anyone thinking about entering to give it a go.’

Satellites support the economy and everyday life with the UK space sector already creating 42,000 jobs and projected to generate a further 30,000 opportunities over the next decade.

Secretary of State for Business, Andrea Leadsom MP, said: ‘The SatelLife Competition will help our next generation of scientists and innovators unleash their imaginations and turn their ideas into real-life proposals that could eventually transform our lives - from saving our planet from climate change, to improving healthcare services. I would encourage all young people who are fascinated by space to enter the SatelLife Competition.’

The national competition will be tiered into three age groups with the winners taking part in a Dragons’ Den-style ideas pitch at the Harwell Space Cluster, Oxfordshire, on June 16.

Competition winners will get to share £50,000 of prize money as well as further advice to transform their ideas into reality and even possible job opportunities.

The competition closes on March 3. For further information and to obtain an application form go to http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/satellife-competition-2019-how-to-enter-and-other-resources