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Brightwork holds video call with Virgin Galactic for local students

Brightwork’s Glasgow offices held a video call with astronauts and engineers from Virgin Galactic live from the space port in California’s Mojave Desert last week (Wednesday 23rd March) for pupils from Woodfarm High School in Thornliebank, Glasgow.


The eleven students, who finished in the global final of the Jaguar Land Rover 4x4 Schools Technology Challenge, won a Virgin Galactic-sponsored technical award resulting in the video call, which was also made available to other S5 students considering careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths). 


Dr Simon Hadfield, principal teacher of science at Woodfarm, said, “Seeing what their work can lead to has certainly inspired the pupils to look into the fields of STEM for their futures.”


The students had the chance to address questions to industry experts such as Dave Mackay, chief pilot for Virgin Galactic, who holds the Air Force Cross for test flying and is part of alumnus for Glasgow University. He gave the students a unique insight into the flight of Virgin Galactic’s Space Ship 2 and White Knight.


Derek May, chief executive of Brightwork, commented, “We are honoured to host this event. Our company has a longstanding commitment to charity partnerships and investing in the future.


“Seeing the highly-enthusiastic students of Woodfarm High School achieving such great success in a global competition shows the value to companies like ours of giving back something of value to the community.”


Fielding students’ questions at the event was Jonathan Firth, executive vice president of Spaceport and program Development in New Mexico, who explained the behind the scenes operations at Virgin Galactic.


Closer to home was Ben Charles, AVA lead engineer for Cockpit and Climate at Jaguar Land Rover, who was heavily involved in the engineering competition in which the students had been so successful.


Brightwork said that with a mix of experience and ambitions among the students, questions covered the long term viability of space flight, possible futures in commercial space travel, the physical changes in the human body to be expected in space, and details of the inspiration and process of design, from idea to prototype to completed product.


The Woodfarm High School Team picked up two awards at the Scottish Finals of the 2016 Schools Technology Challenge earlier this month and will be competing at the UK National Finals at Silverstone on 22nd of April. 


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