Cardiff student wins UK Space Agency competition

13 April 2017

Satellite circling Earth

A Cardiff University student from Solihull has won £5,000 in a competition run by the UK Space Agency to come up with innovative ideas on how to use satellite data to improve life on Earth.

Chloe Hewitt, 19, won the prize for her innovative idea of using satellite data to accurately identify and map disused industrial buildings.

The idea could allow local authorities and others to better use brown field sites for development and also create maps of ‘at risk’ areas.

Along with other winners in the competition, Chloe will now pitch her idea to a panel of industry experts or ‘dragons’ from the space sector who will offer prizes, which could include mentoring, work experience and even the development of the idea into reality.

The best entries will also be invited to present their idea at the UK Space Conference – the most influential event for space in the UK – held in Manchester from 30 May to 1 June, 2017.

Inspirational ideas

Chloe, who is studying physics at Cardiff University, said: “It was a really interesting competition. I just did it because I thought it would be fun to learn about satellites, I never thought I would win. It was really interesting because you know satellites exist but you don’t realise how much they do. I’m planning to use the money to pay for an internship abroad, so I’m really excited.”

The SatelLife Challenge was a competition looking for inspirational ideas, from those aged 11 to 22, linking satellite and space data and its application to everyday life.

Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications Strategy at the UK Space Agency, said: “We were really impressed by the number of innovative ideas submitted to the SatelLife Challenge and Chloe is certainly a worthy winner...”

“The judges thought her idea was a new way of using existing technologies, which could be very useful. We think Chloe has real potential as a space entrepreneur of the future.”

Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications Strategy, UK Space Agency

The competition, intended to support the development of science, data handling and technological skills, was split into three age groups, offering prizes of £5,000 for each age category with the overall winner receiving £10,000.

The judging panel was made up of experts including representatives from the UK Space Agency, the Satellite Applications Catapult in Harwell, Oxfordshire, and industry.

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