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Glasgow students win £600,000 climate satellite design competition

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A team from the University of Glasgow won £600,000 in a government-run competition to develop a climate change satellite for launch from the UK.

The 10 students designed a satellite to analyse shorelines and coastal vegetation to help scientists and policymakers understand the impact of climate change on coastal regions, as part of the Nanosat Design Competition, run by the UK Space Agency and Department for Transport.

The winning team from Glasgow, named OirthirSAT, beat more than 40 teams from across the UK, aged between 16 and 37, with the judges praising their entry for identifying a clear way to tackle climate change and test new technologies.

“Satellite technology plays a crucial role in monitoring our climate and it is fantastic to see so many innovative ideas to help tackle the most pressing issue facing our planet. My congratulations go to the winners from the University of Glasgow for their excellent design,” said Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency. “The countdown to the first satellite launch from UK soil is on and this will be a historic year for our space sector. Being the first country in Europe to offer launch will boost our satellite industry further, creating hundreds of new jobs across the UK.”

The Nanosat Design Competition opened in November 2021, with aspiring space scientists invited to design a small satellite suitable for launch from the UK to help inform solutions to climate change.

Five teams were chosen from the initial entries to go through to the final stage, which included a four-month mentoring programme with space sector experts.

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