ESA Cologne – Stirling High School


The whole day at ESA was amazing. Getting the chance to hear about the training and see the facilities such as those at Envihab that are used to support European astronauts in their development was a fascinating and unique opportunity. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly meeting and hearing from not only Tim but very importantly some of the team involved in realising Tim’s space flight. Listening to them talk so passionately about their work, the challenges that needed to be overcome and how they went about this was inspirational.

Meeting other schools and hearing from pupils who had taken part in the challenge gave us a sense of participating in something greater than our individual school and pupil achievement. It has also encouraged us to continue to develop the Space to Earth Challenge with some of the ideas we heard from other schools.

Thanks for an unforgettable experience.




Our thanks to the Teesside University team!

Mission X - Astronaut Bootcamp. Students from local schools get some astronaut training in the hydrotherapy pool with staff Stephen Payton and Stephen Murphy (red top). 25/2/15
Astronaut Bootcamp. Students from local schools get some astronaut training in the hydrotherapy pool with staff Stephen Payton and Stephen Murphy (red top)

Teesside were the first to pilot the Space to Earth Challenge and with success from year one they offered a hugely successful summer school in year two.  The enthusiasm of the whole Teesside team, Lukasz, Alex Kerry,  Gary and Abigail English has been stellar.  We couldn’t wish for better partners!  

Here are the mission stats:

·         Space to Earth Challenge Day for Year 9 students (20/04) – Manor College; 45 students, students worked in small groups of 15 and experienced changing climate in the environmental chamber, resistance in the hydrotherapy pool and worked on their power on watt bikes.
·         Space to Earth Challenge event with The Triathlon Foundation and Tour de Yorkshire (25/04-01/05) – attended 5 different schools; 1900 students engaged across the schools and on campus on the day of the race.
·         Space to Earth Year 6 Summer School (07/07-08/07) – Thursday we had Thornaby Academy with 73 students and on Friday we had Freebrough Academy with 160 students. This event was very similar to last years, and students were engaged in sport activities and creative wearable tech activities. This year was like a progression from last year and the students this time round were training for their return to Earth from the ISS.
Lukasz Kupczak, who has been a fabulous mission controller for year two of the Space to Earth Challenge, said: “Being able to lead on organising the Space to Earth Challenge events at Teesside University has been a journey with well deserved results. Our ability to engage students from schools around the Tees Valley area has been as rewarding for us as for the students who came to the University and really got engaged. All in the name of science and our hero Tim Peake!”
Mission X - Astronaut Bootcamp. Students from local schools take part in astronaut training. 25/2/15
Speed Test at  Astronaut Bootcamp. Students from local schools take part in astronaut training.

The ups and downs of readapting to life on Earth

from Professor Simon Evetts, Blue Abyss’ Space Life Scientist

Image Credit ESA

Studying astronauts helps us to understand why and how the body deals with low or zero gravity. With each mission, we get closer to working out the optimum exercise to keep astronauts “Earth-strong”, and Tim Peake’s return to Earth offers us an opportunity to advance this knowledge. It could take anything between six weeks to three years for some aspects of Tim’s body to return to pre-flight normality after 6 months in Space.     

Space to Earth Challenge sponsor, Blue Abyss, tells us what Tim can expect over the coming weeks and months as he readapts to gravity.  Read more here:


Space Bones – HRH Message to Tim Peake

16 June 2016

The President of the National Osteoporosis Society, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, has helped to shine a light on osteoporosis once again by thanking British astronaut Tim Peake for his help in research into the condition during his time in space.

In a letter to Tim Peake, the Duchess said: “As president of the National Osteoporosis Society, a charity very dear to my heart, I am interested to know how your bones have stood up to space travel as I understand that astronauts can lose up to 10 per cent of bone density over six months.

“I have been told by the NOS that you will return home with invaluable research and data.

“It would be very interesting to know if what you learn could help change the lives of osteoporosis sufferers here on earth.”

She also wished him a safe journey home.

Looking at changes in Tim Peake’s bone structure could help detect the on-set of osteoporosis in large population groups, especially over 55s back here on earth. 

MRI scans of his knees before and after the mission should show changes in the bone that mimic osteoporosis. 

Tim Peake is due to land back on earth in Kazakhstan on 18th June. You can keep up to date with Tim’s journey back to Earth on Twitter by following @astro_timpeake.


Pushing the boundaries of human physical performance in Space

20160507-TimPeakeMarathonMajor Tim Peake completed the London Marathon from the International Space Station on April 24th, setting a new Guinness World Record. Running a 26-mile marathon is difficult enough for even the fittest of us, but running 250 miles above the Earth in zero-gravity has its own challenges. As Tim prepares to return to Earth, Space to Earth Challenge Sponsor, Blue Abyss, tells us what it really takes to run a marathon in Space. Whilst there are many challenges, you’ll be surprised to read that there is one big advantage too!   Read more here:


Dr Helen Mason OBE talks about her involvement with the Challenge


‘What would happen if a black hole gobbled up the ISS?’ Wow, and you were just worrying about what flavour Pizza to have when you got back to Earth, Tim!!   Just one of the hundreds of questions that children have been asking me at primary schools throughout the UK. Their fascination with space, astronomy and Tim Peake has really taken off. Their imagination has been boundless with space projects, art-work, rockets, space suits.

It has been a great honour to be part of the Space2Earth Challenge team, led by Heather, with so many other enthusiastic participants, in particular the Tri Trust.   Indeed yes, I have actually joined in the physical exercise challenge, and been on a bike, but apparently my legs were moving so fast that the photo just came out as a blurr!

Triton, the tardigarde has also joined us on some of our adventures. Tim’s support from space has been so important, we’ve shared his adventures, his training, his spacewalk and his beautiful photos of Earth, sunsets and the aurora. I could not possibly list all of the wonderful encounters with the children or all of their questions. I usually go home from a school pretty exhausted but also very happy.

One young lady said ‘I have two questions: How will the Sun die? When did you get interested in science?’   Great questions.   Our aim has simply been to work with Tim and the UK Space Agency to inspire the next generation.  This work is far from over, even when Tim gets back to Earth, so keep going and earning those Space2Earth Challenge badges.


UCL-Mullard Space Science Lab Race to Space

From Louise Harra, Professor of Physics, UCL-Mullard Space Science Laboratory Graham

The UCL-Mullard Space Science Lab is doing a race to space in order to raise money for the Surrey air ambulance who saved one of our engineers, Graham, after a nasty cycling accident. 

UCL-MSSL has designed, built and operated more than 35 science instruments for spacecraft over the years, and Graham has played key roles on many of these.  Some missions he has worked (is working) on include SWIFT, XMM-Newton, Cluster II, Hinode and currently Solar Orbiter. Solar_Orbiter

Staff at MSSL are planning to do the distance to the space station, in 10km chunks through different means to raise funds. So far the space cadets plan to cycle, run, swim and write 10,000 word gaming material (!) – keep posted for the next steps. We’ll be doing this over the month of August.