After almost a year of planning and dreaming, we’re all set to finally launch the Andover Space Programme’s spacecraft, Spayce McSpaceFace, this Sunday around 11.20am.
I’ve spent this morning testing a new GPS system to go on board the ship, so that hopefully we’ll be able to find it when it falls back to Earth! By ‘testing’, I mean I’ve taken it for a bit of a run around near my flat, which seems to have worked well…
Of course, it’s going to be a bit more challenged on Sunday, when the GPS system is carried up to 20km or more above the surface of the Earth. But it’s working so far, so fingers crossed!
This weekend has been a long time coming. I first pitched the idea to the team at Chapel Arts Studios back in August 2019, which feels like a different world now. And the Andover Space Programme means something different to me than it did at the start. During the course of the project, I’ve met a whole bunch of new people, especially the brilliant Andover Young Carers, Picket Twenty Fillies WI, and the teams at Chapel Arts Studios and Andover Radio. We had some brilliant sessions working together to plan, design and test the spaceship, and fill it with people’s memories of Andover. And then, first, the winter weather hit, stopping us from being able to launch in December as planned. And we all know what 2020 has turned out to be like!
During the last few months of lockdown, stuck in my flat, I’ve been dreaming of a different world. One in which we can all experience a sense of freedom, possibility and hope. And that’s what Spayce McSpaceFace represents for me. It’s a tiny little message from one English town to the universe, reminding us that there’s a huge picture beyond what we can see, and that if we work together and dare to dream ambitious and slightly ridiculous dreams, we might just be able to reach out and touch it.
We’ll be launching this Sunday morning, 6th September, at about 11.20am, and hopefully the ship will fly for a couple of hours before we (in theory) find it and pick it up. Keep following the #casAIRspace hashtag for updates as we go…and wish us luck!
Remember, you can watch the spacecraft launch at www.tinyurl.com/afest2020
CAS:AIR is a repeating annual programme focused on commissioning an artist to engage local people in the arts. 1.0 CAS:AIR ‘ The Bigger Picture Out There’ and the resulting Andover Space Programme was made possible with the support of Arts Council England, Test Valley Borough Council, Test Valley Arts Foundation, Andover Vision, Andover Town Council and Winchester Science Centre.