RAF News

Chief opens new ASTRA block at RAF Cosford

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston cuts tape by gazebos.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, officially opened a new ASTRA accommodation block at RAF Cosford on 4 May.

The new ASTRA accommodation block will be used by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students taking part in activities at either RAF Cosford or the RAF Museum Midlands.  It is the culmination of several years of planning between the station and the RAF100 Appeal board of trustees, who worked tirelessly to secure funding and bring the project to fruition. 

Aviators and civilians stand outside ASTRA block by gazebo.

RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum Midlands have a long history of jointly delivering STEM training to students from across the West Midlands and Shropshire but distance prevented some students from attending.  The new ASTRA block offers students from further afield affordable, modern accommodation for youth residential activities.

"The new Astra accommodation block at RAF Cosford is a fitting legacy from our first one hundred years. I thank our brilliant RAF Charities and all the generous donors to the RAF100 Appeal for making it possible.

The Astra building provides a safe environment to stimulate young minds and inspire new generations to consider exciting careers in aerospace, space and cyberspace."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston
Chief of the Air Staff

Funding for the accommodation was raised as part of the RAF100 Appeal that marked the RAF’s centenary in 2018. A joint venture between the RAF and its  four major charities - the RAF Association, the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF Charitable Trust and the RAF Museum, the RAF100 Appeal has raised thousands of pounds for welfare, youth endeavour and heritage activities.

Aviators stand watching presentation with tv display.

The Astra accommodation block at RAF Cosford was chosen as a major project to deliver a lasting  legacy of the RAF Centenary, inspiring the next generation’s interest in aerospace.

"The centenary of the Royal Air Force was a chance to look backwards, and both commemorate and celebrate the role the service has played in protecting our nation.  It was also a chance to look forward at how to inspire generations to come.  The trustees of the RAF 100 Appeal were determined to mark the centenary by providing technical training and development opportunities for young people from all backgrounds.  We are very proud that the Astra Block will help provide these opportunities for generations to come – a fitting legacy to the first 100 years of the RAF."

Simon Collins
Chair of the RAF100 Appeal

For those attending the RAF Cosford airshow this weekend, 12 Jun, there is an opportunity to see the STEM team in action within the STEM hangar.

Read more about STEM