A course with universal appeal has given A-Level students at Alton College an out of this world experience.

A new University of Surrey (UoS) programme has provided students with hands-on experience in space engineering.

Teenagers got the chance to program a Mars Rover and test satellite systems through the SpaceCraft training course.

The course gives 16 to 18-year-olds the skills and inspiration needed to forge a career in space engineering, while aiming to address the shortage of STEM skills needed to keep the sector growing into the future.

The programme funded by the UoS and the UK Space Agency gives local companies, universities and students access to Surrey’s research facilities, engineers and training courses.

The UoS has teamed up with Alton College to offer the university-level module to A-Level and T-level students. They will be able to study the Space Technologies programme, delivered in partnership with SpaceCraft, from September but got a taste of what to expect last Thursday with some hands-on learning.

“It’s been really interesting and we’ve had lectures about various parts of spacecraft and practical work,” said 17-year-old Alton College student, Jacob Robertson.

“I had an interest in STEM subjects beforehand, but this has really opened my eyes to what it’s all about, and given an insight into how the industry works.”

 Professor Craig Underwood, Emeritus Professor of Spacecraft Engineering, said: “We desperately need more space engineers, so it’s been a pleasure to support this scheme. 

“We want to show the next generation of researchers how exciting a career in space can be.”

Rups Whybrow, STEM lead at Alton College, said: “It has been really exciting developing this partnership and seeing our students engage with it. 

"They are getting hands on experience of working with technology that is used in the space industry. It’s definitely widened their horizons.”