25.10.2022 – Students from 13 schools from across the North East of England are this week taking part in the latest Space Camp from Team Athena, the UK’s national team in space.

Sixty students from across year 6 and 12 from schools in Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland, are taking part in the half-term programme, which launched yesterday at the National Innovation Centre for Data in Newcastle.

Formed by CGI, Inmarsat, Lockheed Martin UK and Serco, Team Athena has partnered with the National Space Academy to deliver an immersive experience for pupils on the world of space, bringing together a mixture of engaging talks alongside live demonstrations, experiments, team projects and presentations. The aim is to provide a deeper understanding of what a career in STEM looks like from a technical and academic point of view, showcasing the different pathways into this field.

RTC North, Northumbria University and Invest North East have been coordinating with local schools to invite them along supporting the establishment of this space camp throughout the entire process.

Nik Smith, Regional Director of UK & Europe, Lockheed Martin Space said, “We are excited to be here in Newcastle for the latest Space Camp event. We are committed to providing young people with an insight into the world of STEM and delighted to team up with some amazing leaders to showcase how the UK is one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world.”

Nusrat Ghani MP, Minister for Science and Investment Security said, “As we gear up to host the first European satellite launch here on UK soil later this year, there is no denying that our £16bn space sector is one of the most exciting and fast-growing fields for our future economy.

“To ensure the future of this booming sector, it’s essential that the next generation is equipped with the skills required for thriving careers in the space industry. That’s why programmes like Team Athena’s Space Camp are so important both in supporting our ambitions to boost skills and development across all four corners of the UK, and in securing our reputation as a science superpower.”

Athena is committed to harnessing its expertise and global presence to help grow a diverse and resilient space sector in the UK and deliver the growth and development ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy. Athena’s members’ expertise as world leaders in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses and other organisations, enables them to provide students with a greater familiarity of the career opportunities in both civil and military domains related to space.

The camp is a build on the success of the camps held over the summer at Space Park Leicester as well as from previous programmes Athena and its members have held, such as the Serco Space Week held in 2021.


Additional quotes

Michelle Duggan, Inward Investment Manager at Invest North East England said, “The North East of England has a flourishing cluster of companies in advanced manufacturing, satellite applications and specialised component manufacture that already supports the UK and global space industry. Team Athena’s North East Space Camp will inspire the future generation to literally reach for the stars in their career aspirations and we can be confident that companies in the space sector looking to locate in the North East will have a strong pipeline of talent for their future workforce.”

Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: “This is such an exciting time for the UK space sector. We are on the cusp of the first satellite launch from UK soil and we’re supporting major new missions and capabilities with the support of Athena and a wide range of partners.  

 “It is vital that we harness all the fantastic work going on across the country and use it to inspire the next generation who will take the sector to even greater heights. This event is a fantastic opportunity to engage young people and show them the diverse range of opportunities available in space.”

Professor Paul Watson, Director at National Innovation Centre for Data commented, “The National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) is proud to be partnering with Athena to grow a diverse and resilient space sector in the UK. With its long history of excellence in engineering, and its new role as a leader in data and digital, the North East is in an ideal position to benefit, but to do so we need to make school students excited by the opportunities that this will open up for them. This is why we are delighted to host the Space Camp, and are excited by the prospect that some of the students will become future leaders in the North East space industry.”

Janine Marshall, Head of Education and Skills, NE STEM Hub commented, “As RTC North and the NE STEM Hub we are delighted to be part of the fantastic Space Camp programme. It is really important that as a region we show our young people the vast range of exciting current and future opportunities available in this sector. This programme will do just that, bringing STEM to life whilst opening their eyes to the world of opportunities that exist for them.”

Notes to editors:

Participating pupils in Year 6 are from Newburn Manor Primary School, St John’s Catholic Primary School, Westgate Hill Primary Academy (Newcastle Upon Tyne), South Hylton Primary School (Sunderland), Valley Gardens Middle School (North Tyneside), and NCEA James Knott C of E Primary school (Northumberland).

Year 12 pupils are joining from Jesmond Park Academy, St Mary’s Catholic School (Newcastle Upon Tyne), Lord Lawson of Beamish and Whickham School (Gateshead), Southmoor Academy (Sunderland), Framwellgate School (Durham) and George Stephenson High School (North Tyneside).


Athena, launched in May 2020, was formed to seize development opportunities that new space technologies will offer, driving economic growth for the UK and diversification across the British space sector as Athena succeeds.

Athena is the UK’s national team in space, formed by Serco, Inmarsat, CGI UK and Lockheed Martin UK. The four companies are world leaders in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses and other organisations. Together as Athena they offer a new approach to space and innovation for the UK industry.

While continuing to operate as separate companies, Athena will see Serco, Inmarsat, CGI UK and Lockheed Martin UK – already major employers in the UK – develop shared capabilities to meet future demand for space-enabled solutions for business and government customers. This will also aim to boost the UK economy, in partnership with the UK Government’s growing focus on the space sector and its priorities around ‘levelling up’ economic benefits across the country. Unleashing untapped potential in the UK space sector through future export business will deliver further growth and job creation at the four companies’ sites across the country as well as enhanced skills in the UK workforce.

To find out more visit www.athena-space.co.uk and follow on LinkedIn and Twitter.

For more information on the Athena companies please see below.

  • CGI – a global IT and business consulting services firm delivering mission-critical solutions to space and defence organisations for more than 40 years.
  • Inmarsat – a pioneering technology company and the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications.
  • Lockheed Martin UK – a global security and aerospace company, principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
  • Serco – trusted to deliver critical support services and operate sensitive facilities by military organisations around the world, with deep expertise in delivering lower-cost, higher quality defence and space services.

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