in Home / Space

UK's National Space Academy sends educational experiments into space

Posted 4 September 2015 · Add Comment

A kit of experiments to teach fundamental physics and chemistry to UK students has arrived today at the International Space Station (ISS) for British ESA astronaut Tim Peake to run during his six-month mission in space.

Launched from Kazakhstan on Tuesday aboard the Soyuz TMA 18-M mission, the kit was funded by the UK Space Agency and designed and built by the National Space Academy. Flight-testing for space launch was carried out by the University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre.

“Astro Academy: Principia” is an ambitious science education programme that will use the unique microgravity facilities on board the ISS to teach fundamental aspects of physics and chemistry, using experiments and demonstrations that are impossible to conduct on Earth.

After starting his mission in December 2015, Tim will operate the equipment in space, and the footage of his demonstrations and experiments will be included in a suite of teaching films and accompanying teacher education guides that will be released in 2016.

Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, said: “We’re excited that Tim will be able to carry out demonstrations in space to help teachers explain science to their students. His videos and other teaching materials developed by the National Space Academy will be available from summer next year.”

The International Space Station

 

The films will focus on specific topics from school physics and chemistry curricula and will include student experiments which can be conducted on Earth, along with the footage of Tim’s orbital experiments which show the differences that result from a microgravity environment.

The narrative for each film will also showcase many of the successes of the UK’s own space industry – which employs more than 30 000 people and generates more than £11 billion per year for the UK economy.

National Space Academy Director Anu Ojha OBE has led the development of the “Astro Academy: Principia programme” and payload

Ojha said: “Tim Peake’s mission to the international Space Station has given us an amazing opportunity to develop Astro Academy: Principia – a series of ground-based classroom experiments, unique orbital demonstrations and the accompanying teaching films and written guides that will influence the core physics and chemistry understanding of thousands of students over the coming years.

“For the first time, the UK is now formally involved in new, inspirational areas of physical and life science studies linked to human spaceflight and having Tim as our dedicated educational researcher aboard the ISS has given us a tremendous opportunity for school science education.

“Our ambitions for Astro-Academy:Principia are bold – to deepen the curriculum understanding of physics and chemistry students, to support teachers in their curriculum programme delivery and to take advantage of the unique microgravity classroom we have aboard ESA’s Columbus module of the International Space Station.

“Our original flight payload was aboard the Space-X’s Falcon 9 rocket that was destroyed shortly after launch due to a catastrophic failure of its upper stage on 28th June. We are delighted that the UK Space Agency, working with ESA, managed to secure another flight opportunity for our back-up flight kit so soon after this major setback – meaning that Tim’s mission is once again on course to deliver world-class physics and chemistry teaching demonstrations,” Ojha said.

The University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre (SRC) led the flight qualification testing of the Astro-Academy: Principia payload. The SRC team, led by Professor Mark Sims (SRC Director and also a Director of the National Space Centre), conducted the essential vibration tests that were needed to prove that the payload could survive launch.

Professor Sims said: “It was a privilege to help use the Space Research Centre’s expertise to ensure flight of these experiments which will educate and inspire UK children in science as part of Tim Peake’s Principia mission”.

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

ESA selects Airbus for exoplanet mission Ariel

The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Airbus to build the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel) mission.

Solvay to supply Avio with advanced materials for space exploration

Solvay and Avio SpA have signed a long-term agreement for the supply of composite and adhesive materials to be used across a range of projects, including the Vega space programmes - the European Space Agencyís satellite launch vehicles

Winners of the 2021 TECAs announced

The winners of the third edition of the Tackling Economic Crime Awards (TECAs) were announced on Monday 6th December at a virtual awards show where representatives from across the financial crime sector tuned in live to celebrate the

Blighter radars to protect West African oil facilities

Blighter Surveillance Systems has been awarded a contract to provide its C400 series onshore and offshore installation security radars to protect a cluster of offshore oil platforms and an onshore refinery in West Africa.

Inmarsat, Goonhilly and GMVNSL to deliver first UK-generated satnav signal

Inmarsat is working alongside British partners Goonhilly Earth Station Limited and GMVNSL Ltd, on a UK Space Agency-funded test project with the European Space Agency (ESA), to deliver the first UK-generated satellite navigation

UK drone industry seeks post-Brexit accreditation

The future of the UK drone industry, one of Britainís prime opportunities for growth - alongside other UK-based manufacturing exporters - will be severely threatened once the UKís eligibility for the EUís CE accreditation regime

ODU UK SK0902311221
See us at
WIRED BT2311141221RAF Museum BT