Mission Possible: Falmouth students unveil VR rocket launch experience

11 August 2022

A group of students stand shoulder to shoulder wearing 'Spaceport Cornwall' tshirts
Goonhilly VR
Type: Text
Category: Innovation, Student stories

A group of students in Cornwall have launched the first iteration of a brand-new educational VR experience which will see users experience the first ever satellite launch from UK soil, due to take place from Spaceport Cornwall later this year. 

Students from Falmouth’s Immersive Computing course collaborated with peers from Truro and Penwith College to create a bespoke educational tool for Spaceport – who will make history when they launch the UK’s first rocket into orbit from British soil.  

The first phase of the VR was launched exclusively to attendees of Goonhilly Earth Station’s 60th anniversary celebrations (on Sat, July 23rd), where partners including University of Exeter, Truro and Penwith College and The South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications gathered to take visitors on a “voyage of discovery” via a range of space-themed activities and experiences.  

Spaceport Cornwall will use Virgin’s modified passenger plane – the Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl – to send a rocket containing several satellites into space. 

The plane will take off from Newquay airport’s runway, fly up to altitude and deploy Spaceport’s LauncherOne rocket from approximately 35,000 feet. The carrier aircraft will then return to land, while the rocket will take its satellite payloads into low Earth orbit. 
Spaceport Cornwall’s team say the VR experience will allow young people to witness a launch in its entirety, becoming a part of the scene and enabling them to wander around the ‘Arthur 6’ satellite and through control room areas before meeting holograms of scientists on their travels.  

I’ve worked with many teams in industry throughout my career and I can say that the team we put together here are among the best.

Brian Waterfield, Head of Immersive Production at Falmouth University’s Immersive Business Lab, worked with the team to help shape their working structure and scrum activities. “It was a pleasure working with Falmouth and Truro and Penwith College students and to witness their tireless dedication in bringing this concept into fruition", Brian told us.

“To undertake such a complicated brief alongside their studies was not an easy task – especially when you consider this took place alongside their final year exams, employment and preparation for the next step in their careers.  

“I’ve worked with many teams in industry throughout my career and I can say that the team we put together here are among the best, displaying professionalism and creativity in their approach to the work. This will no doubt stand them in good stead for future employment.  

“The VR experience created by the team will be available on the Oculus store, where we hope a new generation will be inspired by the possibilities they see before them. We want Cornwall to be a place where young people’s passions for science, creativity and technology can be nurtured and realised as a career path.  

“Seeing the talent and breadth of expertise on display at the Goonhilly celebration event on Saturday, it’s clear that we’re in good hands – I can’t wait to see what’s next for these students.” 

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