ST Engineering Antycip and its partner, RSA Cosmos – Konica Minolta, are announcing their first large-scale planetarium launch in the UK. The immersive simulation and VR solutions provider and its digital planetariums partner are helping Sherwood Observatory inspire STEM interest and opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged young residents, through extracurricular activities and a world-class visitor attraction, with RSA Cosmos’ best-in-class turnkey solutions and powerful astronomical software, SkyExplorer.
Sherwood Observatory, located between the towns on Sutton-in-Ashfield, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Mansfield has recently received Ashfield District Council’s unanimous approval for plans to build a £6.35 million planetarium and education centre to attract thousands of visitors. The planetarium, which will be 10 metres wide, will start building in late August, with the aim it to be finished during November 2024.
In a joint effort with its esteemed partner RSA Cosmos – Konica Minolta, ST Engineering Antycip, will provide Sherwood Planetarium with all the fitting of the planetarium, including software, dome, computers, seats, shows, audio and lighting. Moreover, a select group of construction companies, have been nominated for the architecture, design, and construction of the building.
On the importance of the new planetarium, Dr Steve Wallace, planetarium project manager, Sherwood Observatory, stated: “Sherwood Observatory is dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap within our community by providing outreach using astronomy as a means of inspiring people of all ages to take an interest in STEM subjects and careers.”
Amir Khosh, commercial and project manager at ST Engineering Antycip added: “Our collaboration with Steve has been a remarkable journey right from the inception of their idea of building a planetarium. We have provided them with support during the initial stages and assisting them in generating interest through our mock ups.
“We are proud to undertake the project, This is the first large planetarium that we will deliver from scratch. We designed, will build and deliver a planetarium going from inception to fruition.”
Ms. Bahar Gumus, sales manager at RSA Cosmos – Konica Minolta said: “We are thrilled and proud to have been selected for this leading planetarium project in the UK. Our team works hand-in-hand with the Sherwood Observatory team, and this right from the very start, from the project definition, to offer the best planetarium solution”.
The science centre, which will include the planetarium, will be a separate building to Sherwood Observatory, and will sit on the redundant underground Victorian reservoir, built in 1886. The science centre will aim to link the engineering achievements of the past to the engineering challenges of the future, by taking visitors on a journey from the Victorian reservoir to the state-of-the-art planetarium and space science.
“With a persistent regional disparity in educational outcomes and an alarming threat to future prosperity, our area stands at a critical crossroads,” concluded Wallace. “Through creating a locally grown high-skills workforce, we aim to unlock the untapped potential in our area, foster educational opportunities and drive economic activity propelled by the planetarium.
“This remarkable project owes its success to the support we received from Ashfield District Council and the Department of Levelling Up Homes and Communities. It is through their invaluable contributions via the Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund initiatives, that this project will be possible.”