richmix presentation

Space in the Community: First Screening Event with Guest Speaker Colin Macleod

Over 50 students (ages 16 -24) from the East London Advanced Technology Training (ELATT) school in Hackney participated in an educational space talk delivered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Colin MacLeod, Head of Space Regulation, showed how science fiction is becoming science fact using the film Gravity to explain the work being done to keep space clear of debris.

The event, hosted by ELATT at Rich Mix in Tower Hamlets, marked the beginning of a series of educational sessions designed to inspire students to pursue STEM careers, a programme supported directly by the UK Space Agency. 60% of the attending students, primarily from Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and other East London boroughs, have diagnosed special educational needs and disabilities, including autism and ADHD.

Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney depicts a Hollywood version of space activity. However, the very real challenge of keeping space clear of debris, and making sure satellites don’t fly around forever, is a major part of the work the Civil Aviation Authority does as the space regulator. Experts at the Civil Aviation Authority assess whether satellites are safe, and how they will be disposed of at the end of their mission, as well as monitoring over 700 objects in orbit

During his talk, Colin MacLeod discussed his role with students and provided insights into the UK space sector, emphasising the growing importance of space sustainability in light of increasing space debris. The Civil Aviation Authority’s STEM outreach programme aims to inspire children from diverse backgrounds, building aspiration, curiosity, and confidence.

"STEM education is more important now than ever, and I'm thrilled to see the student’s enthusiasm for space. Talking to students helps show the real work going on behind the scenes today. We deal with real challenges of making space sustainable compared it to what’s made up for movies. I hope the day highlighted the importance of understanding our impact in space while igniting a passion for science.”

"Nothing inspires our students more than meeting people who are leading and working in industry, so we were thrilled to welcome Colin today to our first film screening as part of our Space in the Community project. I'm sure that through the energy, knowledge and example set by Colin and his colleagues at the CAA our students will be seriously considering careers in such an exciting area of technology and human progress.”