Students collaborating with Spaceport for the UK’s first ever rocket launch
12 April 2022
“We’re making connections while we study that people would struggle to make even after university”
Students studying Creative Virtual Reality and Immersive Computing are creating an educational VR project for Spaceport, who are due to make history in 2022 by launching satellites into space from UK soil.
Spaceport are aiming to establish themselves as a major hub in the UK for space exploration and have asked students at Falmouth University to help them realise their goals. The company will use Virgin’s modified passenger plane – the Boeing 747 Cosmic Girl – to send a rocket containing several satellites into space this summer.
The plane will take off at the end of Newquay airport’s runway, fly up to altitude and deploy Spaceport’s 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.
Falmouth’s students are documenting the launch with a VR experience, which is being developed for deployment across educational institutions in the UK. The students’ finished piece will represent a simulation of the launch in its entirety; school children will even be able to follow the satellite as it travels into space.
The student team is split into three key areas; VR design, led by Bogo Petrov, programming, led by Tega Amrore and art design, led by Elmo La Mantia.
Falmouth's Immersive Business team also contacted students from Truro and Penwith College to assist with the project.
Spaceport and Falmouth University will be releasing the educational material created on online stores, meaning that anyone with access to a VR headset will be able to view their work free of charge.
And to help inspire the next generation’s interest in the cosmos, the launch footage will be brought to life by narrations from a mix of leading astronomers, scientists and astronauts.
Creating incredible opportunities for students
The opportunity for Falmouth’s students to work with Spaceport came about via Falmouth University’s innovative start-up ‘Immersive Business’, which is located on Penryn Campus.
Led by Falmouth University in collaboration with the University of Exeter, Immersive Business ensures that eligible small and medium sized Cornish businesses can compete nationally and globally through the development and application of immersive technologies.
Businesses can approach Immersive Business and receive twelve hours of assistance with a project free of charge.
Bogo Petrov, who is studying Creative Virtual Reality, was blown away when he heard that Spaceport had asked for help on their launch.
“We’re making connections while we study that people would struggle to make even after university”, Bogo told us.
“To be part of the UK’s first ever rocket launch is absolutely incredible, and we’re determined to create a VR experience that inspires the next generation of space adventurers!”