Junior Astronaut, co-founded by OM Miranda Ashcroft (2016-2020; Overleigh), will be working alongside Virgin Orbit, a California-based space launch company. The non-profit organisation promotes access and opportunities in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) career for young people.
Junior Astronaut aims to inspire young space enthusiasts, aged 8-25, to pursue careers in STEM. Their vision is to bring forth a new generation of STEM professionals at world-renowned space companies through an exciting participative space programme. The collaboration with Virgin Orbit will allow Junior Astronaut members to launch their very own ‘Nanonauts’ on board Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. They will then be able to track their Nanonauts’ progress as it orbits earth via a specially designed app.
Other elements of the Junior Astronaut programme include conducting flight experiments in motor gliders, attending space camps, and zero gravity experiences. From 2025, Junior Astronaut are also hoping to offer sub orbital spaceflight experiences.
Miranda’s interest in space and STEM began at Millfield where she studied A-Levels in Physics, Maths and Psychology, and started learning to fly, which made what she learnt in the classroom come to life. After leaving Millfield, Miranda went on to flying school. Miranda says that, “Millfield helped me find my passions, and I hope with Junior Astronaut I can help other people find theirs.”
The inspiration for Junior Astronaut came from the growing importance around STEM. These subjects are the foundation of the innovation that is needed to solve the world's problems. This is why they are keen to capture young people’s interest in this field, through the excitement of space.
Miranda says, “The world has a lot of problems at the moment, most of which a career in STEM can help to solve. Our aim at Junior Astronaut is to inspire people into STEM and help them find a passion for innovation and drive.”
For more information, please visit their website, www.juniorastronaut.space, and socials, @juniorastronaut.space, or email them on STEM@juniorastronaut.space.