On 18 June 2016, British astronaut Tim Peake crashed back down to Earth after six months aboard the International Space Station, landing in the remote Kazakhstan steppe along with crewmates Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra.  Throughout July, we will continue looking to the skies, celebrating the latest gravity-defying feats of aerospace engineering, and meeting the engineers who have taken us to the very edge of the world.

The world famous Farnborough International Air Show will be taking place this month from 11 to 17 July, bringing with it the spectacular five-hour air display, as well as a host of additional activities and stages, including the UK Drone Show, flight simulators and the Boeing Centennial Experience.

In addition to the public show there will also be an international trade show, featuring press conferences with aerospace giants Boeing, Airbus and Parker Aerospace, and a keynote speech delivered by director of Amazon Prime Air, Lauren Kisser.  Friday 15 July will see the air show open its doors to schools, universities and youth groups for its Futures Day, shining a light on the wealth of career opportunities in the aerospace industry.

We will also be casting an eye to the future of space travel, exploring some exciting news from the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems, and taking a closer look at Bigelow’s space-saving solution to the confines of the International Space Station.

Following on from Shell’s Make the Future event taking place from 30 June to 3 July in London, we dig deeper into the role of renewable energy in the years to come, with a glance towards electrifying flight.  Both ‘Solar Impulse’, the world’s first solar powered plane, and NASA’s latest X-plane feature engines powered by electricity, offering the possibility of cheaper, cleaner air travel.

Closing our aerospace-themed month, we will be joined by Dawn Elson, Group Engineering Director for Merlin Entertainments Group.  Trained as an Engineering Officer in the RAF, Dawn has strong ties with the aviation industry, and after 23 years of service, joined Gatwick Airport as Head of Engineering.  In an interview with the QEPrize, Dawn gives her thoughts on the industry, the importance of engineering role models, and what we need to do to encourage more young people to take up the challenges of the future.

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