A year 13 student at Bolton School Girls’ Division is set to enjoy an out-of-this-world summer, following her successful application to join the European Space Camp.
Alongside 23 other young adults from across the continent, the first week of August will see Sofia Carerra-Knowles ensconced in Andøya Space Centre, on an island two degrees north of the Arctic Circle in northern Norway.
“I have always had an interest in engineering, and with space being one of the fastest growing industries, with so much to explore, it has always intrigued me,” she said.
“Whilst carrying out research into the latest developments in space technology, I came across the space camp on the European Space Agency’s website.”
Andøya Space is in the process of establishing a launch site for small satellites on the island.
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For six days, camp attendees will be required to organise different aspects of a real rocket campaign, including the launch itself. In between, they will attend a number of lectures from leading scientists and engineers, on topics ranging from rocket physics to the northern lights.
All of which should eminently suit a student currently studying for her A-levels in maths, physics and electronics, with the intention of going on to undertake a degree apprenticeship in engineering and a career in the space sector.
The week will not all be wall-to-wall work. European Space Camp also offers an extensive list of social activities, including a hike up the 379 metre Ramnan mountain to the ALOMAR research station, swimming under the midnight sun followed by a trip to the sauna, as well as volleyball and a GPS challenge.
But ultimately, says Sofia, it’s the science that is the greatest pull.
“In particular,” she explained, “I’m looking forward to building and launching our own rocket, as well as experiencing spaceship Aurora, where participants can go on virtual missions to space.”