News from our Platinum Corporate Member: Thales Alenia Space
Thales Alenia Space fosters STEM ambitions among younger generations
For decades Thales Alenia Space has been promoting the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) competences, firmly believing that inspiring future generations to engage in STEM subjects is not only important for one’s professional growth, but it is relevant for the industrial and economic progress of the entire Society.
Among the recent initiatives, Thales Alenia Space and British Astronaut Helen Sharman worked together on MARSBalloon 2021 project, providing students with the opportunity to channel their interest in STEM into action.
This initiative launched over 150 experiment capsules designed by UK school children up into the atmosphere via a high altitude balloon, testing student ideas for technologies that could one day be destined for Mars. Students worked together to create Mars experiments that fit inside a Kinder Egg™ capsule, putting in anything from electronics, materials, seeds, and even food.
During the launch the balloon ascends to 30km, more than twice the height of commercial airliners, in approximately one hour. It then bursts and the experiment tray returns to Earth via a parachute. The experiments are then collected and returned to the schools for students to analyze the results.
The experiments experience conditions very similar to the surface of Mars including temperatures as low as -50°C. This allows students to test the response of their samples to the conditions outside of a future Mars base, helping future explorers to prepare for this strange and hostile environment.
Thales Alenia Space is dedicated also to fostering young talents and their innovative ideas. Together with Italian Region Lazio, the Company organized the Open Innovation Challenge entitled “Autonomous Satellite”, aiming to select innovative solutions that allow Earth observation satellites to have greater control on board, to avoid communication difficulties, predict failures and reduce the need for continuous supervision and remote intervention.
The goal of the project is to connect large companies with the creativity and competence of young talents, entrepreneurial teams and innovative startups. Out of 17 applications received, 6 projects have been selected to engage in the mentorship path with Thales Alenia Space, whose experts will support the start-ups in developing their innovative projects.
This type of initiatives are crucial for the technology transfer and they often enable birth of new business initiatives. Thales Alenia Space, as one of the leading Companies in the global Space industry, is highly aware of the importance of attracting and retaining highly skilled people and the benefits of having a diverse workforce to innovate and prosper, and it will keep its efforts to make space exploration tangible and accessible to young talents, our future innovators, engineers and scientists.