The UK's Department for Transport has announced lift off for a competition challenging schoolkids to design their own nanosatellite.

Young people will have the chance to send their own small satellite into space as a competition attempting to inspire the next generation of British space scientists and entrepreneurs launches today.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was at Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall yesterday (June 9) to announce the contest, which is looking for nanosatellite designs that can help support the UK’s ambitious decarbonisation targets.

Nanosatellites are small satellites which can be used to gather scientific data, such as on climate change, as well as improving data for satellite navigation systems – which could help to make journeys better for everyone across Britain.

The £600k prize fund will mean the winner can further develop or build their satellite, making it launch-ready, with the potential for it to be launched into space from UK soil.

In 2022, the UK is set to become the first country in Europe to host small satellite launches, with Spaceport Cornwall, in Newquay, set to be the first operational spaceport.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "As hosts of the G7 and with the first space launches from British soil firmly within our grasp, I want to support the UK’s brightest minds and creative ideas to launch this exciting competition.

"This will help to secure a future spaceflight legacy for Great Britain, by inspiring young adults to build the skills needed to work within this growing sector."

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: "We are committed to putting British innovation at the heart of the global effort to understand and minimise the effects of climate change, cementing our position as a science superpower and helping us to build back greener from the pandemic.

"As we anticipate with excitement the first satellite launches from British soil next year, this competition gives young people across the UK an opportunity to be part of our country’s thriving space sector and shape a better future for everyone."

As international leaders convene in Cornwall for the G7 Summit, the Government is accelerating its vision for the UK to be at the global forefront of small satellite launch and emerging space transportation markets.