Young People Tackle Earth's Problems From Space

Some of the UK’s best and brightest young minds have been awarded for their imaginative ideas to combat global and local problems using space


Ava Garside, a student from Leeds, was awarded the overall individual prize in the UK Space Agency’s SatelLife Competition and will receive £6,000 for her pin badge which monitors air pollution.

Students from the University of Bath won the overall group prize of £7,000 for their answer to detecting illegal sand mines. These are just two of the winning entries in the Agency’s 4th annual SatelLife Competition.   

The SatelLife Competition aims to encourage young people to think about how satellites can enhance our everyday lives and learn more about the diverse carers available in the sector. Ideas during this year’s competition ranged from apps that predict crop health to contact tracing in a pandemic. Those closer to home could see their lives improved with a wrist band to guide and support those with dementia.

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake said:

Satellites are essential to everyday activities. When data collected by satellites are applied creatively, we can look to solve many of the problems we face on Earth. 
The UK space sector is an exciting place to work, and jobs in space are not just for astronauts. Careers include analysts, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs, I do not doubt that in the future these exceptional young people will be at the front of the line for these jobs.” 

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

Satellites play a vital role in all our lives, not just for day-to-day activities like making a phone call or using GPS, but also for tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges such as climate change.
The innovation demonstrated by the SatelLife winners has been truly inspiring and I look forward to watching them and other brilliant young talent develop flourishing careers in our exciting and thriving space industry.” 

The next step for these successful winners is to pitch their ideas to a panel of ‘dragons’ at the Harwell Space Cluster in October for the chance to win further prizes. Previous awards have included additional funding, patent advice and invitations to discuss job opportunities as well as introductions to the other relevant experts for further help.

The SatelLife competition has seen previous winners go on to careers in the space sector and continue to develop their idea into reality.