The past week has been a celebration of space exploration thanks to the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. So it’s fitting that the UK’s National Space Centre in Leicester has now begun work on a multi-million-pound development programme building The Extended Reality Laboratory (XR Lab).
The XR lab has been made possible thanks to funding from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome. Additional support came from the Local Growth Fund from Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and The Garfield Weston Foundation.
Home to the new NSC Creative Academy, the XR Lab will allow for the creation of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) content, housing workstations and a stereoscopic test dome. It’ll extend the programmes available to those working with the Space Communications team through the new Community Engagement Programme.
The versatile space will be able to support school visitors, allowing them to further their interest in these technologies, as well as help students work with experts as part of their studies.
“The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) are proud to support The Extended Reality Laboratory (XR Lab), which forms part of the recent developments at the National Space Centre that secured a £1 million allocation from our Local Growth Fund,” said Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP in a statement. “Not only will this new facility be a great asset for students and young people, it will also open up space related opportunities to communities within Leicester and Leicestershire. The 50th anniversary celebrations of the moon landings this week have really put a spotlight on the space sector and it is great that Leicester is part of the future for space exploration and technology development.”
Once completed the programme aims to involve 3,600 socio-economically disadvantaged young people from Leicester, of whom 50% will be female, in the various workshops being planned.
Opening its doors in 2001, the National Space Centre is an educational hub for those who love space, designed for family, adult and corporate visitors alike. VRFocus will continue its coverage of the XR Lab as development continues, reporting back with the latest updates.