Press Release


Student Ideas Are Ready For Lift-Off


OCTOBER 2, 2008


Eleven students have won an opportunity to have their ideas taken by British-born cosmonaut Richard Garriott to the International Space Station (ISS) on 12 October on board a Russian Soyuz rocket. The winners will be formally announced at the International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow on 3 October by Korean Astronaut Soyeon Yi.

The students took part in an out-of-this-world science competition developed in partnership with the British National Space Centre (BNSC), which co-ordinates civil space activities in the UK; and US company Space Adventures, which provides spaceflight opportunities for private citizens. The educational outreach programme for the mission challenged students to imagine how space enterprise could develop in the future. Mr Garriott is currently undergoing cosmonaut training at Star City in Russia for his forthcoming mission to the ISS.


The winning ideas are:

  • Liam Quinn (aged 13), Glasgow, has designed an out of this world hotel.
  • David Amison (aged 14), Birmingham, wants to establish The Flying Fish Space Tourism Company based at Birmingham Airport.
  • Peter Gyurov (aged 14), Surrey, wants to use space as a private animal and plant research centre that would discover plants that could grow well Africa.
  • Nicholas Lucas (aged 13), North London, wants to create a habitable atmosphere on the Moon and create vaults of plants.
  • Jenny Edwards (aged 12), London wants to find a new  home for mankind in case the Earth becomes uninhabitable because of pollution.
  • Alice Brown (aged 12), Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire wants to create interstellar supply chains servicing the US Space Shuttle and emerging space hotels.
  • Syed Ali (aged 15) East London wants to market “over the honey-moon’ trips to the Moon.
  • Ruby Hirsch (aged 15) East London wants to create a satellite scattering genetically modified algae to reduce pollution in the atmosphere.
  • Papiya Sultana (aged 15) East London  wants to create a gravitational goal – a football league in space.
  • Abigail Cheales  (aged 15) Strawberry Hill London wants to set up a business to create memorials to loved ones in space.
  • Hannah Cheales (aged 15) Strawberry Hill London wants to create lunar laboratories.


Richard Garriott said of the winners:

“We had so many great and creative proposals. Students were clearly thinking a long way in the future and imagined how we might live, work, play and survive in space in decades to come.”

“The winning entries reflect different enterprise possibilities: medical research, future energy supplies, supply chain development, space tourism, environmental protection and communications. It’s great to fly the British flag in space … and I’ve been delighted that my mission has caught the imagination of so many young people.”


Jeremy Curtis, from the British National Space Centre, added:

“We’re delighted that Richard is using his mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs. It’s clear from the entries that students understand the importance of space to their future.”

The winners will have an opportunity to meet Richard Garriott at a VIP day in  Leicester on 17 December 2008.


About Education
The number of jobs in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors will expand by over three quarters of a million by 2014. Factoring in those who will retire or leave these sectors, there will be a total of nearly 2.4 million jobs to be filled. The number of students securing first degrees in physics, chemistry and engineering is falling dramatically. The number of students studying physics, one the most popular science A-Level has fallen by 57% in just over 20 years. (Source: Confederation of British Industry, 2007.)

The Education and Skills Case For Space (Source: -Spencer and Hulbert, 2006) notes that space has a direct, positive effect on educational and career decisions and on participation and achievement in physical sciences at GCSE, A-level and in Higher Education. Space studies also improve motivation and behaviour.


About Space

Space adds £ 7 billion to the UK economy each year and supports 70,000 jobs.

Space produces one of the highest skilled workforces in the UK. The UK is a world leader in global mobile satellite communications, Earth observation, space enabled creative industries and in planetary science.

Space is key to sustainable development – mapping sea temperature changes and providing communications. Space opens up new opportunities for teaching and healthcare and exploits new energy sources.


About the British National Space Centre

The British National Space Centre (BNSC) is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and exploit space. BNSC is a partnership of seven Government Departments, two Research Councils, the Met Office and the Technology Strategy Board. It co-ordinates UK civil space activities and represents the UK at the European Space Agency.


The BNSC’s UK Civil Space Strategy announced on 14 February 2008 sets out five objectives. They are to:

  • —win an increasing share of the global market in space systems, services and applications in the race to develop tomorrow’s economy;
  • —be a partner of choice in global scientific missions to explore the Universe;
  • —benefit our society by strengthening innovation from space, and stimulate the creation of new products and services for everyday use;
  • —develop a major channel for skills development and outreach for a high technology future, and improve public and political recognition of the value of space systems as part of the critical national infrastructure.

For more information, visit:


About Richard Garriott

Richard Garriott, 46, is the British-born son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, who participated in two space missions including the 1973 Skylab 3 mission that orbited the Earth for 59 days and smashed the previous record for human spaceflight duration. The younger Garriott is scheduled to become the sixth paying space tourist and the first offspring of an American astronaut to visit space.

For his forthcoming trip, Garriott paid $30 million to space tourism firm Space Adventures of Vienna, Virginia, USA. He will join his father Owen Garriott as being one of the first 500 humans to leave the planet. He is an exponent of the commercial value of human spaceflight and will be taking with him a series of experiments to help generate commercial benefits and also a general interest in science.

In one experiment his father helped design, protein crystals will be made in the zero-gravity environment. The crystals form perfectly under these conditions, and accurate images of their structures are expected to be of value to pharmaceutical companies.


About Space Adventures

Space Adventures has organised the flights of the world’s first private space explorers: Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari and Charles Simonyi. It has its headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, USA, with an office in Moscow.

It offers a variety of programmes such as spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the Moon, zero-gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programmes and reservations on future sub-orbital spacecrafts.

For more information, visit

About the International Astronautical Congress

The IAC provides an international focus for the global space industry, academic researchers and students worldwide who present the latest ideas, promote current activities and encourage future ambitions across a diverse range of space-related topics.

For more information visit