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Art to propel Patrick's name into Space

3 years on, the UK’s Galileo Art competition winner re-visits SSTL
Three years ago, SSTL hosted a visit by Patrick Galvin, the UK’s 10 year old winner of the European Commission’s Galileo Art competition – and last week, as we approach the delivery of Galileo FOC payload #22, we invited him back to pay us a return visit. 

When Patrick first visited SSTL back in 2012 he was here to find out more about space in general and the Galileo satellites in particular, and his visit was filmed by the BBC’s children’s television programme, Newsround.  Back then Patrick was very evidently interested in science and space exploration, and at the time he said “I’ve always found space interesting, nobody knows what’s out there and what’s beyond.”  With the benefit of a few more years of STEM education behind him, and a keen interest in Physics and computing in particular, Patrick was able to absorb more information about designing, engineering and testing for a space environment on this visit and he asked our engineers some astute questions during the tour.  These days Patrick is leaning towards a career in Information Technology, but we still hope we might inspire him to consider putting his computing skills to use in a space-based project one day! 

SSTL's Spacecraft Operations Centre

The tour started with a visit to our Spacecraft Operations Centre (SOC), which has been upgraded and enlarged since Patrick’s last visit.  The SOC is SSTL’s operations control hub containing the infrastructure to track, command and operate satellites in orbit, and so it’s a great starting point for a chat about spacecraft, orbits, antenna dishes, applications, customers and an overview of SSTL’s missions in orbit.  

We then moved on to The Kepler Building where SSTL assembles and tests satellites, and our first stop was to have a close look at our Earth Observation gallery where we display some of the images our satellites have delivered from orbit.  We include a wide range of imagery on our gallery lightwall to show off the many and varied applications of earth observation data, so we were able to talk Patrick through how our customers use satellites to provide information on agricultural yields and crop health, disaster monitoring, global warming, de-forestation, urban planning and flooding.  

Patrick by our Earth Observation lightwall

Next stop we afforded Patrick VIP status for the second time, so that he could get fully gowned-up  to enter our Assembly, Integration and Test Hall for a close-up view of real space hardware.  

Here's Patrick standing alongside the Structural Qualification Model for our GMP-T geostationary satellite

Back in 2012, Patrick was presented with a winner’s trophy but by far the most exciting part of his prize was that he will have one of the Galileo FOC satellites named after him!   Patrick’s satellite has yet to be launched but one day his name will literally be in space – a very rare and special honour. 

Patrick’s satellite will be labelled with his name, just like the pair of Galileo FOC satellites in the photo below, which were named “Milena” and “Doresa” after winners in other EC countries.  

Galileo FOC FM1 and FM2 on their payload dispenser system, August 2104. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video due CSG - P Bourdon

A total of 6 Galileo FOC satellites have been launched so far, with 2 more due to launch before the end of the year and a further 14 spacecraft currently in production and test.  The satellites, which will eventually number 30, will fly as a constellation providing navigation, timing and search and rescue services to Europe. 

Patrick’s winning entry for the Galileo Art competition back in 2012 was a collage showing the Earth orbited by shiny silver satellites and it was judged top by a national jury panel including space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.  You can see Patrick with his winning artwork on the European Commission’s website

This information has been produced under funding of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union and/or ESA. The OHB/SSTL project is funded by, and part of, an initiative by the European Union (EU) for a satellite-supported European navigation system, and where the European Space Agency (ESA) acts in the name of, and on behalf of, the EU.





02 November 20150 Comments1 Comment

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