BEAM me up Stevenage could be the cry among local schoolchildren and businesses when they celebrate World Space Week.

It is at Stevenage Business & Technology Centre (btc) from October 6 to 8 to mark the area’s links to the international space industry.

World Space Week was launched by the UN General Assembly in 1999 on the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the signing of the Treaty on the Peaceful Use of Space in 1967.

It is now a prestigious annual event with celebrations taking place across the world.

Stevenage has a long established link to the international space industry through Europe’s leading space company EADS Astrium which has a major production facility locally and is one of the key organisers of the World Space Week event.

More than 500 students from local primary and secondary schools including Barclay, Barnwell, Almond Hill and Round Diamond will watch a short play on the impact of space in everyday life and take part in fun, practical space challenges lead by space scientists and engineers.

They will also see an exhibition from a range of innovative local organisations based at the btc and meet Bruno, the prototype Mars Rover being developed by Astrium.

Professor Colin Pillinger, best known as leader of the failed Beagle 2 project, will give a presentation to an invited audience on his new book My Life On Mars.

Patrick Wood, chief technology officer at Astrium UK, said: “Space is a vital part of our daily lives and we are increasingly reliant on space technology in a number of areas such as global telecommunications, predicting the weather and understanding climate change.

“World Space Week is a great way to enthuse and inspire the next generation of Stevenage’s space scientists and engineers.”

Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said: “With its involvement in space dating back to the early 1950s, Stevenage is widely known as the home of the UK space industry and so is just the right place to host this exciting event.

“World Space Week will celebrate the important contribution to the exploration and use of space made by the people and businesses of Stevenage.”

Greg Thomas, innovation manager at the btc, said: “It is vital that Stevenage continues to play a central role in the growth of innovative businesses and that the right skills and talents are nurtured locally. This event will highlight the giant leaps forward we are making in that direction.”

During the week, the University of Hertfordshire and North Hertfordshire College will be on hand alongside a number of local companies to discuss higher education and careers opportunities in the space sector.