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Breaking News …. Principia Schools Conferences – Apply Now!

PrincipiaSchoolsConferencesThe UK Space Agency is organising two conferences for school pupils in November 2016. The conferences will give young people the opportunity to present their work, linked to Tim Peake’s Principia mission, to leading experts from industry and education.

The conferences will be held at the University of Portsmouth on Wednesday 02 November and the University of York on Saturday 05 November. The days will include keynote talks from leading figures, presentations from the students, exhibition of the students’ work and the opportunity to meet and talk to experts from the space industry and the Principia education programmes.

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake will be in attendance at both events, subject to operational requirements. Continue reading


Help Find Sam the Space Dog!!

English Lakes’ Mascot Sam travels to space!


Sam the Dog on the edge of space

The Science Project

The Midland hotel in Morecambe and partnered with school children at Morecambe Bay Community Primary School who designed a physics project to use helium balloons, specialised GPS tracking equipment and GoPro action cameras to see if they could send ‘Sam the Dog’ to the edge of space.

Continue reading


London Marathon : Team Astronaut

by Libby Jackson, UK Space Agency Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager

Libby-in-suit-2I’m very excited to be able to share the news with you that Susan and I, along with a number of other colleagues from the UK and European Space Agencies, will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon in just over two weeks’ time, alongside Tim who is running the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon on the treadmill at the same time. We are doing this to raise funds for Tim’s chosen charity, The Prince’s Trust, for who he is an ambassador and is supporting from orbit. To add to the challenge and to make the fundraising even meaningful, I will be running the marathon dressed in a replica Sokul Suit.

You can read more about this effort here:

Please don’t feel obliged to sponsor the team, but any support of the team, both on Earth and in space, large or small, would be very warmly received. If you will be on the streets of London on Sunday 24th April (or indeed are also running), please let us know where to look out for you – it is always lovely to see friendly faces on the course.


Shobdon Primary in The Hereford Times (14 March 2016)

Shoben Hereford Times Article ImageSHOBDON Primary School pupils did not need to leave the classroom to explore outer space when an extra special guest paid them a visit.  The children undertook astronaut training while taking part in a “space to earth challenge” and a few youngsters also tried on an authentic “Sokol” space suit. 

The educational activities were put on when Tony Forsyth, from the UK Space Agency, dropped by to give a progress update on the International Space Station project involving British astronaut Tim Peake.

Shobden Hereford Times Article Image MikeHe was joined by Mike Jubb, from the Triathlon Trust, who showed the pupils how astronauts such as Mr Peake and his colleagues remain fit while working in outer space.  And the Shobdon children imitated the British spaceman’s two-hour workout by creating their own “spaceathlon”, complete with space, sport and science-based activities. Shobden Hereford Times Article Image group


Swimming to Space

By Eleanor Smith


My name is Eleanor Smith and I am 13 years old. I started training with a local swimming club, Dunfermline Amateur Swimming Club in August 2015.  I really enjoy swimming and recently took part in my first competitive gala.  In my first race I won a bronze medal, missing out on gold by 0.01s swimming butterfly which is my favourite stroke to swim. Other than swimming I enjoy cycling, music, reading and spending time with my friends.

When I’m not at swimming I enjoy taking my dog, Neptune for walks.  We live near the Fife Coastal path and have plenty of great places to take him. Neptune is 5 years old and was a rescue puppy. The litter were named after all the planets.  Most of them had their names changed but Neptune stuck!!  My school choices include Healh & Fitness and Technology subjects which makes me really interested in Tim’s program.  At night I sometimes like to sit outside and look at the stars. And when the alerts come through on the app I look out for the ISS passing overhead. We get a great view here!! I would really like to get to 400km before Tim gets back but for now I am aiming for 100km and will work from there.


Oakwood School Smashes the Challenge

By Vicki Prowle

Optimized-Oakwood 3 On Friday 18th March Oakwood School combined the Space to Earth Challenge with raising money for Sport Relief.  Throughout the day, children and staff donned their pyjamas or onesies and ran laps of the field to complete their miles.   Some children completed 2 or 3 miles during the day!  

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By the end of the day we had run the magnificent total of 781km which got us to the ISS and nearly all the way home!

Then, on Saturday 20th, the swimming team added some distance for us at their gala with each child doing enough warm up lengths and races to clock up another 5km. Y3s swimming lessons, staff running and a number of children getting on their bikes over the weekend, meant that by Monday morning 813km had been achieved in total!

What a team effort Oakwood…we’re proud of you all!


Hockerill Enrichment Day: Space, Mission X and the Tim Peake Challenge

Optimized-Hockerill2By Edward Vine, iSTEM and Mission X Coordinator, Hockeril Anglo European College, Bishop’s Stortford

After a day spend building Soyuz Landers, designing rockets, scientifically assessing the risks of journeying into space, exploring spectral fingerprints from space, training like astronauts, meeting the Tim Peake Challenge and engaging with five leading world class scientists and engineers and launching rockets students and staff went home quite tired but very happy. Students took time to stop me on their way out of school to say “Thank you” and not an hour had passed before parents were in touch to report their sons and daughters had come home “Buzzing” with what they had experienced, and asking where could they sign up for the next mission. 

Optimized-hockrill 5It was good news but ‘in house’ feedback, so when we received comments like these below, from our visiting guests over the weekend, after they had had time to reflect, we were very pleased:

“I had a fantastic time! I would love to come back!”   Dr Olesya Myakonkaya

Optimized-Hockerill01“It was a wonderful day, I very much enjoyed it. The students asked some very interesting questions.  It was a pleasure to visit Hockerill School. A particularly memorable moment was at the end of one demo session when students gathered around in the lab to chat with me and ask me questions. That was a moment to treasure.”    Dr Helen Mason OBE


Northbury Primary- Space2Earth Challenge

By Kulvinder Kaur Johal, Assistant Head/Science Coordinator, Northbury Primary School


It has been a real whole school effort to get through the Space2Earth challenge. We started in January when John, our sports teacher, marked out an area in our school playground and I sent him out with a trundle wheel to measure it. Well you can imagine, John had never seen a trundle wheel before. It turns out that marked area was 200m.

So John began to get classes to do a warm up activity before each lessons and sent the pupils off to do 2 laps of the track. Slowly but surely the metres started to tick away. This started with the younger children and eventually the whole of key stage two was involved. Our athletic teams ran 800 metres several times. John has been doing his sums and keeping a record.  

Northbury01The year 3 pupils ran over 100,000 metres themselves. Well done !!

The finale was our Year 5 pupils, who have been working on the Mission X- Train Like an Astronaut Programme, totting up the last few metres.  We have made it!  Over 360 pupils have taken part and we have reached the magic number.   400,000 metres=400km


Norwich School hosts Amateur Radio Linkup with Tim Peake

Optimized-Norwich 5By Stephanie Grant, Ogden Teaching Fellow – Physics

On 26 February 2016, at 2.40pm, 120 students from 21 local schools gathered in Norwich to talk to Tim Peake via an amateur radio link with the ISS, and ten lucky students were able to ask their questions directly to Tim.   This was the culmination of a huge project with the local schools which involved supporting them to run question competitions, providing them with kits to investigate radio, organising a teacher workshop for embedding the ISS in lessons across the curriculum and finally in two days of workshops and activities building up to the big moment.

Optimized-Norwich 2We were able to get so many great people together to run workshops and be involved in the project as a whole by using the networks of so many people.   Our thanks to Heather MacRae at Venture Thinking who put us in touch with people who were pivotal in making the event a success; to Dr Helen Mason OBE who gave a fantastic keynote speech on the first day and ran a workshop for the primary pupils who were there; to Jane MacArthur, a PhD student with an interesting career path – an ex-pupil of CNS, the school hosting the event – who was able to talk to students about her meteorite samples as part of an exhibition in the foyer over lunch time and was on our ‘expert panel’ to whom more questions could be asked along with Helen Mason; and to the Triathlon Trust who really made the live linkup day itself a buzzy, energetic and exciting day. Optimized-Norwich 1

The students managed to cycle to the space station and back in the two hours of activity time they had – fantastic! It is an experience the students will never forget and we are very grateful.

This marvellous event was organised by Norwich School, CNS, Reepham High and UEA and the link up itself was done by the wonderful ARISS team.  The event was sponsored by the Ogden Trust and RCUK, and ARISS have funding from RSGB, ESA and the UKSA. 


Story of a 15 year old Triathlete

Eagling 1

My name is Michael Eagling and I am 15 years old and a Triathlete. Apart from sport I enjoy music, reading, going to the theatre and cinema and visiting places of interests.

I have always enjoyed sports but especially running and swimming and when I started at primary school I could not wait to be in year 3 when I would be allowed to join the school cross country club. At about the same time I joined my local swimming club and that was it, I was hooked. Then I found out about the sport of triathlon, I hadn’t really done much cycling but I liked the idea of giving that a go and when I found out that we had a local triathlon club, Crystal Palace Triathletes, I decided to join the club.

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My whole family have a love of all things to do with space and one of my favourite books when I was young was called The Sea of Tranquillity by Mark Haddon. My mum used to tell me about how she had watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon live on television. We would often go to the Science Museum and walk around the space exhibits or visit the Planetarium and Astronomy centre at Greenwich, we also made several trips to the National Space Centre at Leicester. Even though you know the ending who doesn’t think that Apollo 13 is a great movie to watch, it is just amazing that those astronauts made it back to earth safely.

When I heard about Tim Peake’s mission and his Space to Earth Challenge I thought it would be interesting to follow what he was doing and maybe take up the challenge myself. I was lucky enough to have a TomTom watch for Christmas and decided to give the challenge a go and use it to help track my training distances.

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I am now in the Triathlon Academy for the London Region and I am lucky enough to be supported by the Dave Aitcheson fund through SportsAid as well as having sponsors.

I hope to make the England talent squad and one day represent my country in the sport of Triathlon. After that I would like to work in something to do with sport and science, maybe one day I will be helping astronauts with their physical training for their missions and while they are in space!



Shobdon School take the Space to Earth Challenge

By Ruscha Merilion


It wasn’t a usual day at Shobdon School. Tim Peake may have used a rocket to get to the International Space Station but we decided to cycle and run there.   Without a rocket we might not actually be able to land but at least we would do the distance.

The day began earlier than usual at 8:30 am. We got into our P.E kits and headed for the hall were we were met by the Space2earth Challenge Team.  We were told how the challenge would work and then split into groups of three.  One of the people in the group would be cycling another running and the last counting the laps the runner completed. Continue reading


Dinglewell Year 5 Staff Complete The 400km Challenge

On January 6th, the Year 5 staff at Dinglewell Junior School (Gloucester) challenged the 90 Y5 pupils to take part in the Space2Earth challenge and beat the staff to 400km. A couple of the adults felt that this would be relatively easy, however, they did not anticipate how competitive the children would be. Before you could say “Tim Peake,” pedometers were appearing everywhere and the pupils were doing everything possible to earn extra steps on their way to and from school and by doing circuits at break times. The pressure was on! To further fuel the fire, the pupils were able to track the staff’s progress via whereas the adults had no idea how many kilometres the children had accumulated. Staff were tubing down ski slopes, cycling, running, walking and playing netball whenever they could – unfortunately the wonderful British weather wasn’t always on their side. Then, on February 3rd, less than a month after the challenge was set, 4 girls from Class 8 skipped gleefully into class with their activity logs – 3 had completed the 400km and another had completed 800km!!! A day later and yet another girl from the same class achieved her 400km goal. Refusing to be too dispirited, and keen to ensure that they weren’t beaten by any other children, the staff raced to complete the 400km. Wednesday 17th Mrs Palmer completed the final leg and allowed the staff team to breathe out a sigh of relief!