IN A CELESTIAL coincidence, a 12-year-old from Alresford has won Blue Peter’s Awesome Orbit competition to design an emblem that will go on a satellite designed by Alton firm In-Space Missions and launching from UK soil this summer.

Bethany Turner appeared live on last Friday’s episode of Blue Peter, joining the presenters in the studio as her ‘Earth Sitter’ emblem was named the winner.

Bethany wants satellites to help in measuring the melting of the polar ice caps and monitoring deforestation, to discover when trees have been felled and where new seedlings need to be planted to prevent global warming.

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake launched the competition, which was supported by the UK Space Agency, in October 2021 to give young people across the UK the opportunity to design an emblem and come up with ideas for how satellites could be used to help people in the future.

Bethany said: “It felt amazing when I found out I had won – I was so shocked I couldn’t believe it.

“For my design I thought if we could scan the Earth with satellites it could tell people when there’s illegal deforestation and they could go and plant trees.

“It could also scan the polar icecaps so people can see when they’re melting and try to prevent it.

“I’ve been interested in space for quite a long time and I really enjoy it. I get most of my information from books from the library or books I’ve bought and I want to learn more. I’d definitely be interested in working in the space sector in the future.”

Bethany Turner’s winning design as featured engraved on the first UK satellite launch
Bethany Turner’s winning design as featured engraved on the first UK satellite launch (UK Space Agency )

As part of Bethany’s prize, she spent a day with Steve Neaves, creative director at Hampshire-based branding and design studio Crux. Steve and his team had worked on Bethany’s original drawing to help create the final emblem that will blast into space.

They explained how her design had been redrawn and digitised to enable it to be engraved on to the plaque that will be fixed to the satellite.

Ian Annett, deputy CEO at the UK Space Agency, said: “We all use space every day, from watching satellite broadcasts, using a mobile phone, to finding our way around. Data from satellites in space is even used for monitoring the environment and understanding climate change and it’s a big part of new technologies like supporting driverless cars through better connectivity.

“From missions to Mars to understanding climate change or launching satellites, all this great work relies on more young people joining the space sector in roles such as engineering, law, science and philosophy and the UK Space Agency is working to inspire future generations to consider a career in the space sector. It’s fantastic to see so many people take part in this wonderful competition and our huge congratulations go to Bethany and all the runners-up.”

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer congratulated Bethany with a message from the International Space Station, saying: “I heard the brilliant news about you winning the Blue Peter space competition and I thought ‘where could be the best place to congratulate you from, but here in space’. I am currently on my own mission and I have brought along the Blue Peter badge for the ride!”

Bethany’s emblem will be engraved on to a satellite that will be sent into orbit on the first launch from UK soil from Spaceport Cornwall this summer.

As part of her winner’s experience, Bethany will also win a Blue Peter orange competition winners’ badge, take control of a Mars Rover at Airbus in Stevenage, experience a trip in a driverless car supported by satellites and get to see behind the scenes at satellite testing facilities at Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire.

The satellite is a collaboration between the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and Airbus Defence and Space, and designed and built by In-Space Missions in Alton.