Ultra Sites

The National Space Centre’s Launch Pad project lifted off to new heights with a dramatic community launch – taking construction to the edges of earth’s atmosphere.

Its dramatic launch provided a spectacle for hundreds of schoolchildren, local residents and workers who witnessed a soft toy in the shape of an astronaut and a construction bolt ascending into the atmosphere, powered by a huge helium balloon.

Registered as an Ultra Site with the Scheme, the project used innovation and technology at the heart of its successful engagement with the local community, including providing this unique space-related spectacle. The epic event enabled 13 selected school students to become ‘classstronaughts’ for the day, whilst promoting construction, space exploration and STEM subjects.

Woodhead invited students from Beaumont Leys School in Leicester to take part in the launch, which saw the bolt and a cuddly toy from the Space Centre’s gift shop head off into the sky, aiming to reach the edge of space.

Robert Woodhead’s Ultra Site project is for a new ‘Launch Pad’ ticketing hall, which will extend the National Space Centre and improve the experience of record numbers of visitors, with over 315,000 visiting in 2017 alone.

About the project

The project is the construction of a new visitor’s entrance to the National Space Centre, Leicester.

National Space Centre

Project Value
Under £1million

Project Duration
14 weeks

Project Completed
July 2018

Despite being the shortest duration Ultra Site to date, Robert Woodhead’s Launch Pad project embraced the very highest standards of considerate construction, working in true collaboration with the client and its supply chain.

The high-scoring project achieved no less than three innovations in the areas of ‘Appearance’, ‘Community’ and ‘Workforce’, proving just what can be achieved in a short space of time with an innovative approach and teamwork.

The bolt will be used in the construction of the new Launch Pad, after its long 103 mile, 115,452ft. journey to the edge of space. The footage from the epic journey can be viewed on the fantastic video below, showing how a construction project can go ‘to infinity and beyond’!

The fast track, 14-week project duration really pushed us to innovate and think of new ideas to demonstrate that exceptional levels of consideration can be achieved in tight timescales.

We had a whole team collaborative approach which included our site team, office team, client and supply chain, who are all so enthusiastic. The client were fully involved from the outset; they valued what the Scheme stood for and saw the benefits it brought.

Despite significant and complex works, the National Space Centre continued to receive excellent reviews, with guests commenting that their visit was “awesome”, “fabulous” and “exciting”, while the works were in progress.

The project was rapid and we knew that the supply chain would be absolutely fundamental to delivering the project within the tight programme.

We decided to do something we have never done before on such a quick turnaround project and provide an onsite gym for the site team. This really helped our workforce unwind during their breaks.

The key to success on this scheme was collaboration; everyone was working together to one shared vision. It has been a privilege to be a part of the team that not only delivered the project on time but also achieved our highest score in the company’s history.

Tony Robinson, Project Manager, Robert Woodhead Ltd