LUCID - Launching tomorrow’s scientists today

10 July 2014

Sixth form students from a state school in Kent are preparing to collect data from their very own radiation detector in space.

LUCID project launch
Credit: Roscosmos

The detector – called LUCID – launched on Tuesday 8 July from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on board a Soyuz-2 rocket, and is expected to start sending back information after a month of initial tests.

LUCID employs five hybrid silicon pixel detectors to make detailed measurements of high-energy particles. These detectors were taken into schools by coordinators from the IOP’s Physics Teacher Network, who encouraged students to devise experiments using them as part of the CERN@school programme.

Becky Parker, Director of the Langton Star Centre at the school, says “You wouldn’t go sailing without checking the wind; this detector checks the space weather. Our students are involved in real research – nobody knows all the answers to these questions. Thanks to this space mission we will find out much more, and we want other schools to join us analysing the LUCID data in this journey of discovery.”

The data will give detailed insights into radiation in space, and is of great interest to the space weather community, including NASA.

Credit: SSTL

LUCID (Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector) is a payload on TechDemoSat-1, which is part-funded by the UK government through the Technology Strategy Board and the South East England Development Agency. The satellite has been developed and built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).

LUCID is a project from the Langton Star Centre at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, a state school in Kent which has a mixed sixth form. The school is particularly grateful to SSTL, CERN, STFC, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, The Ogden Trust and GridPP for their fantastic support throughout this mission.

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