12 months ago a bunch of OU under and postgrad students met up at the National Student Space Conference 2020 at Birmingham University the annual meeting of UKSEDS, the umbrella organisation for space and astronautics clubs in all UK universities. After a great day, we decided we needed a space club at the OU so we could keep doing and hearing about exciting stuff like at the conference.
So in the middle of the pandemic we worked, with a load of help from the OU Students Association, to set a club up and launched it on an unsuspecting Open University community at freshers last October. We thought we might be able to get a few people interested enough to join us. Much to our surprise by the end of the fortnight we had about 50 members!
Over the winter we ran a series of online lecture covering everything from the science of mars and meteorites through the history of spaceflight to law and geopolitics in space and watched as our membership grew and grew to over 300 today.
And onto today, Saturday 6th March 2021, it's the National Student Space Conference again - all online this year of course - and the last part of the day was the UKSEDS National Awards. One category is UKSEDS branch of the year, which "honours the best performing branch which has displayed the vision of UKSEDS at every opportunity. This branch worked on a variety of projects and made a great effort to interact with other members nationally." The clubs' management committee knew we had been nominated by some of the members (thanks to everyone who did!) but didn't imagine for a second we stood a chance as the youngest Branch barely six months old up against established clubs from the best universities in the country. Imagine our surprise when the screen above appeared and we were announced as the winner.
Thanks to every one of our members, the Students Association and all the brilliant people who have given or who are going to give their time to do a talk. It is you who made this possible, we promise you even better is still to come!