Planet Watch, a space research program for schoolchildren, has officially launched in the Russian capital city. The joint program was announced during the Skolkovo Startup Village 2018 by its co-organizers: the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), the Talent and Success Foundation (Sirius Educational Center for Gifted Children), the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE), and the state space corporation Roscosmos. The announcement took place during a session called Aerospace Education: Challenges and Opportunities.
The program envisages five youth competitions, which will entail a series of educational and learning activities that will enable schoolchildren from all over the country to gain first-hand experience with modern space technologies. Next Spring, 93 selected finalists will attend a program session on space research at the Sirius Education Center, where they will have the opportunity to work on modern equipment and implement their space projects together with specialists from Skoltech, Roskosmos, and other institutions.
“As the first country that launched a satellite and a human into space, Russia has been actively developing its space technologies since the middle of the 20th century. Today, young engineers and researchers are facing new challenges, and Planet Watch project has been created to attract the attention of schoolchildren to these issues. Together with our partners, we are holding contests involving spacecraft design, hoping to see young visionary engineers who would lead the way to distant stars,” said Elena Shmeleva, Head of the Talent and Success Foundation.
The Planet Watch project is significant not only due to its competitive challenges, designed to highlight the importance of space technologies, but also due to the professional support it enjoys. Program participants will benefit from lectures and webinars by specialists in a broad range of areas, running the gamut from microelectronics programming to the receiving and processing of satellite signals.
“The epoch when space used to be the dream of all schoolchildren and almost everyone wanted to become the new Gagarin has slightly faded from memory. That is why Planet Watch is so important: we need to attract young talents at an early stage. Sirius will gather them around, and Skoltech, in turn, is ready to offer project support and financing,” noted Skoltech President and RAS Academician Alexander Kuleshov.
More than 500 participants have already applied for the program. The most popular competition among the schoolchildren is My School Satellite. The young researchers are also interested in the Russian Space Data contest, which relates to receiving space data Ribbon Seal 2019, a contest related to remote sensing; a space systems design contest; and a competition related to the development of on-board systems for small satellites.
“The idea of the Planet Watch project originated last year when Sirius participants presented a CubeSat 1U nano-satellite to Russian President Vladimir Putin and asked for his support with its launch from the International Space Station. So already on June 20, this refined tiny sputnik will arrive at ISS to be launched on July 10 by our cosmonauts,” said Ivan Bortnik Advisor to the Director-General of the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE). He also shared plans to further support the talented youth and develop space-related research within the context of the Science Clubs Road Map of the National Technological Initiative.
“Space research is becoming more and more essential. Projects of Roscosmos and other space agencies present new challenges and pose new questions. Planet Watch is a program about the professions of the future, which schoolchildren can master today,” said Olga Fomina, Deputy Director of the Roscosmos HR-department.
During the presentation of the program at the Startup Village, Skoltech Space Center Director Anton Ivanov highlighted the importance of involving children in educational projects where they can “touch and feel real space technologies.”
Ivan Shekov, Head of the Sirius Space Systems Lab, discussed programs on space education at Sirius, including the design and prototyping of satellites.
Olga Gershenzon, Chairman of the Board of the LoReTT company, and Kirill Popko, Director of the Perspective Youth Center for Innovation Activities, discussed the aims and goals of the Planet Watch program.
Further information on the contests, program, and registration for participation is available at http://spacecontest.ru
Planet Watch is the first joint project carried out by Skoltech, the Sirius Education Center, the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) and the State Space Corporation Roscosmos. The program consists of five challenges for the schoolchildren aged 14-18, mentored by students of Russian universities. It is assumed that more than 10,000 schoolchildren and young people from all-over Russia will participate in the project.
Registration is open at: https://goo.gl/forms/yJWSbCYIAnM7dubF2,
Anton Rogachev, Head of the Project Office
Project Coordinator, Space Center,
Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
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