Nine-year-old primary school student promotes work of UK Space Agency

A PRIMARY school pupil enjoyed a “life-changing” experience after winning a national competition to promote the work of the British space industry.

Nine-year-old Rebecca Hayward was named as the winner of the Cosmic Futures competition alonsgide eight other students aged eight to 18.

The Birchanger school pupil designed a poster on the UK Space Agency’s Icarus Project in which they hope to send a probe to an alien sun. As part of her prize, Rebecca helped write and edit a new space science magazine – called Ticket to Mars – which will be distributed to all UK schools.

As well as the opportunity to write for the magazine, the winners also met astronaut and space entrepreneur Dr Richard Garriott de Cayeux and Lucy Hawking, author and daughter of physicist Stephen Hawking, and spent three days touring London’s museums, the Astrium in Stevenage, the Metro and Queen Mary University in London.

Rebecca, who gave a speech to over 200 MPs and members of the space industry, said it was an “amazing few days”.

“We all got to meet Dr Garriott de Cayeux who chatted about what he did and how he got into the space agency and Lucy Hawking signed a copy of George’s secret key to the universe for me,” she said.

“I have always been interested in science but I am a lot more interested in space now – it has changed my life.”

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Rebecca said that the Astrium was her favourite part of the tour and that, once she is old enough, she has been offered work experience there.