Last year we set ourselves a challenge for MadLab in 2014 – to boldly go where no other city has been before and launch our very own civic space programme. Now, thanks to a micro-grant from the UK Space Agency our childhood dream of space exploration is being fully realised.
Going into space might sound overly ambitious for an organisation like ours, and certainly until a few years ago that was very much the case. However, in 2014 thanks to the dreamers and plucky underdogs quietly toiling away in sheds and garages worldwide (and of which we at MadLab wholly approve) those ambitions have been brought within our reach.
Next month sees the UK launch its first cubesat into orbit, carrying school projects and more into space for the first time. Meanwhile, dedicated amateurs have figured out how to take incredible photos showing the curvature of the earth – attaching a camera and a GPS device to a weather balloon and chasing it across the country until it bursts. These are just two examples but there are plenty of others, from hobbyists doing near-space rocketry to DIY satellites and lots more besides.
Our civic space programme then is somewhat unlike its national counterpart. There are the obvious differences of course – number of zeros in the budget (ours: fewer), number of trained astronauts (none) – but the most important difference of all is that MadLab’s space programme is open for anyone of any age to get involved. Starting on the 27th of February (more info coming soon), we’ll be holding regular events at the MadLab with talks and discussion as well as the chance to get our hands dirty building a balloon-powered satellite. For anyone with an interest in space we’d love to hear from you, either through the website or social media (@madlabuk on both Facebook and Twitter). Alternatively, just keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming launch party.
UPDATE: 27th February is the date! 7pm until 9pm, more info here.