The fifth edition of the popular science event Yuri’s Night Wrocław took place on 10-11 April 2021. In cooperation with its partners, the organiser, the WroSpace Association, prepared a number of attractions for young and old. The participants of the events organised by WroSpace have already got used to its comprehensive offer. Both World Space Week Wrocław (the main event organised by the Association), and Yuri’s Night Wrocław, employ a full set of popularisation tools: lectures, debates, fairs, workshops, competitions, space science zones, quizzes, films, teacher training, city games, board games, internet games, exhibitions, stratospheric balloon missions and original gadgets for participants.
Held online, this year’s edition of Yuri’s Night Wrocław even gained in attractiveness and reached a wider audience. It was the second time when the event, for obvious reasons, was moved to the Internet, and the organisers made optimal use of new technologies for this purpose.
On the first day, the participants had the opportunity to listen to lectures related thematically to the anniversaries celebrated in March and April: the 60th anniversary of the first manned space flight, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the shuttle era and the 20th anniversary of the Mir Space Station deorbit. Grzegorz Sęk from the Youth Astronomical Observatory in Niepołomice told the story of Yuri Gagarin and his pioneering flight. Leszek Orzechowski from Lunares and Space is More presented the topic of space stations launched into the orbit of our planet to explore new conditions for humans. Waldemar Grabowski from the Venus Planetarium in Zielona Góra gave a fascinating lecture on shuttle missions.
A debate on the history of the space race, which was prepared and hosted by Ewelina Zambrzycka-Kościelnicka, a popular science journalist associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences, was the highlight of the programme. Eminent specialists, such as Dr hab. Grzegorz Brona, Wiktor Niedzicki, Dr Urszula Bąk-Stęślicka, Dr Tomasz Mrozek, Paweł Kicman and Kamil Muzyka, answered the host’s questions in an almost mesmerising, sometimes very funny, and always very interesting way. Providing a unique opportunity for such a prominent and diversified group to address the broad topic of the history of space exploration, this over two-hour-long meeting aroused great interest and gained positive feedback from the audience.
This debate could have easily lasted until midnight – this comment speaks for itself and perfectly reflects the atmosphere and success of the discussion. A well-prepared debate involving a group of distinguished experts, interesting topics, fascinating stories, all sprinkled with a good dose of humour – it could not have been otherwise!
In addition, on the first day, the audience were able to check if they had listened attentively to the lectures. Two quizzes were held to test the participants’ knowledge, providing an interesting interlude to the talks given by the experts.
On the second day, we listened to lectures on space-related activities delivered by ham radio operators. The speakers were Michał Matusik from SP9MOA and Tomasz Salwach from SP6ZWR, who passionately talked about their experiences. It came as a great surprise for the majority of the participants to learn that this group of enthusiasts not only talk on the radio on the Earth but are also active in the space zone. Apart from sending out stratospheric balloons in which they place their equipment, the amateur radio operators also use the Moon to bounce radio signals off its surface for establishing communication between radio stations on the Earth, organise communications with or through the International Space Station, arrange educational and amateur communications with the ISS, deal with satellite transmissions and even have their own satellites in orbit!
In addition, on Sunday 11 April, the participants were given a unique opportunity to pre-test (an online version) of the Solar System Voyager board game. In the evening, we listened to the story of its origin as told by the creators of the game themselves: Małgorzata Pluskota and Szymon Ryszkowski, this year’s secondary school graduates. At the end of the day, a demonstration game was played by the members of the Almukantarat Astronomy Club, which was broadcast live.
Apart from the two main days of the event, the WroSpace Association carried out several other initiatives. An art competition Yuri Gagarin – the first man in space attracted both young and adult artists, resulting in an impressive gallery of works: https://wrospace.pl/konkurs-plastyczny/.
Yuri’s Night Online Game
In addition, an online game (https://view.genial.ly/606cd895b4a0b50d113e8dc0/interactive-content-yuris-night-wroclaw-2021-gra) was created in which the player assumes the role of Gagarin’s assistant, helping the cosmonaut in completing all stages of his training and mission. After completing the game, many participants filled in a form through which they sent the organisers their grateful and satisfied comments about the whole event.
How was the event received by the participants? Simply take a look at some comments:
Great initiative encouraging people to take an interest in space. Original tools to promote knowledge. Warm regards 🙂
Excellent event, very competent speakers, cool organisation, fantastic presenters, 10/10!
Mega interesting event. I have been watching and listening since the beginning and I am disappointed that I only found out about you today. 🙂 Well done! Thanks to the Organisers and Speakers.
One of the highlights of Yuri’s Night Wroclaw was the premiere of a film poll entitled Cosmic Memories. The film was created to inspire young people to get involved in space technology and astronomy. Well-known specialists in the space industry, people who work in this sector every day or are professionally connected with astronomy and well-known science popularisers accepted the invitation and recorded their answers to two questions: What is your first space-related memory? and Who is your space hero/idol?. The response was so great that the initially planned short poll turned into an hour-long fascinating film. The WroSpace Association would like to thank all the people who co-created this unique project.
Inspired by the experts’ recollections, the participants of the event had the opportunity to share their own memories on the forum, which were then presented during the broadcast.
On 12 April, exactly the 60th anniversary of the flight of the first man into space, three balloon missions were sent into ‘space’. The first of them reached an altitude of 30.3 km and took on board a camera which recorded the course of the mission and the logo of Yuri’s Night Wrocław 2021 against the background of our planet. It also carried a LoRa Wan 868 MHz telemetry transmitter and an APRS and 4FT (70 cm) transmitter.
The task of the second balloon mission was to carry experimental transmitters built by ham radio operators. The signals were received, among others, in Germany, Slovakia, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic. One of the transmitters transmitted the winning artwork from the Yuri Gagarin art competition encoded in the SSTV system. Systems of this type have been used in older meteorological satellites to transmit images of the Earth.
The other two transmitters were the first experiment in Poland using LoRa for APRS from a balloon, and probably the world’s first transmitter in the stratosphere on shortwave (14 MHz) transmitting telemetry in the FT8 system. This balloon reached an altitude of 28.5 km.
The third mission carried two transmitters to an altitude of 29.5 km. The first transmitted telemetry data in the 70 cm band, allowing the tracking of the flight, and the second, as in the previous mission, encoded SSTV images, with the only difference that it was broadcast additionally in the digital version of this emission, i.e., DSSTV.
All three payloads were recovered, and the conducted experiments provided interesting conclusions for further equipment upgrades. The mission was prepared and carried out by the members of the SP6ZWR ham radio club and the WroSpace Association.
It is worth noting that the budget of this nationwide event was 0 PLN! Everyone involved, starting from the WroSpace members through the representatives of the co-organisers, speakers and guests to the broadcasters and enthusiasts, worked voluntarily in order to promote science in Poland.
The event was co-organised by: Solar System Voyager, Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN, Planetarium Wenus, Młodzieżowe Obserwatorium Astronomiczne w Niepołomicach, Koło Naukowe PWr Aerospace and Polski Związek Krótkofalowców.
Polska Agencja Kosmiczna assumed honorary patronage over the fifth edition of Yuri’s Night Wrocław.
The Association would like to thank all the people who contributed to the fifth edition of Yuri’s Night Wroclaw and all the participants of the events. The statistics do not lie – the even was watched by 4000 of them just on the first day!
The entire event is still available on the WroSpace websites:
First day: https://youtu.be/My3LDgNxXck
Second day: https://youtu.be/UHpt7zMmyVA
Stratospheric missions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YCbaFmJtyk
Event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/363080518117212
Film poll „Cosmic memories”:
Debate on the history of the space race: https://youtu.be/h-ajEnTGudU
Particular elements of the event: