10 years of the National Space Centre
On 30th June 2001, the National Space Centre opened its doors to the public. The Centre was opened by NASA Astronaut Jeff Hoffman. Jeff had studied at the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre, a building he now frequents as a guest lecturer in Human Spaceflight.
The Centre was the brainchild of the University, an establishment that celebrated 50 years of actively participating and leading worldwide space missions in 2010.
With the UK Space Industry often described as the UK’s best kept secret, the creation of an information hub, educational establishment and hands-on visit or attraction was seen to be the way forward and thanks to financial support from the Millennium Commission the journey began.
So what has the National Space Centre achieved in that 10 year periiod?
* Welcomed over 2.3 million family visitors, many of whom are visiting the region for the first time.
* Employed over 300 people, 120 of whom are still with the C entre and countless others have gone on to work for ESA, NASA and space related industries in countries such as New Zealand, America, South Africa and Dubai.
* Educated over 600,000 school children from 5-19 at all levels.
* Developed NSC Creative, an in-house creative team that lead the wor ld i n fulldome and planetari um shows, with shows currently playing in 220 venues in 27 countries in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
* Welcomed Royalty, with visits from HRH The Queen, Prince Philip and The Duke of York.
* Welcomed Astronauts, including Moon walkers Buzz Aldrin and Charlie Duke, UK born Astronauts Helen Sharman, Michael Foale and Piers Sellers, NASA Space Shuttle Crews STS-112 and STS-121 as well as over 20 other members of the international community of Astronauts
* Won over 50 national and international awards, including the East Midlands Visitor Attraction of the Year on 4 occasions and the Guinness World Record for the largest number of Daleks in a single place (97 of them!)
* Created the Space Academy, an educational team that have made such an impact using space as the inspiration to teach STEM subjects, that they have been invited to present to the NASA Teachers Conference in America for the last two years. An externally-commissioned study in 2008-09 focusing on the effectiveness of the Physics programmes (GCSE and A Level) found that the sessions appeared to have immediate positive effects on student confidence in both the understanding and use of physics – and that this effect was largely sustained even after the intervention. In addition, many student attitudes became more positive about physics as a career option.
* Home of the Beagle 2 Lander Operations Control Centre, opening up this awe inspiring mission to the general public and demystifying the science behind it.
* Creation of the Near Earth Object Information Centre, part of the UK Go vernment's response to the Report of the Task Force o n Potentiall y Haz ar dous Near Earth Objects. The East Midlands can sleep safe in the knowledge that we will know first hand if there is ever a need for concern.
* Launched the Education Award Scheme, a programme that helps those with financial barriers in place to accesse ducati on provision.
* Worked with the UK Space Industry to create the Human Spaceflight Gallery, a groundbreaking and world unique interactive gallery that is based on scientists beliefs of a Lunar Base in 2025.
* Been the backdrop for movies, including one currently in the making with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), as well as countless news and children’s programmes.
* Spoken live to the International Space Station.