Press release

Stephen Crabb: Tim Peake’s mission will be a historic moment for the UK in space

Cardiff celebrates launch of British astronaut to the International Space Station

On Tuesday 15 December British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake will be launching to the International Space Station (ISS) for his Principia mission.

To mark this momentous day, the UK Space Agency is running 4 large launch-day events in the nation’s capitals and 16 smaller events at discovery and science centres across the country, giving the public a chance to wave Tim on his way and get involved in the mission.

Techniquest in Cardiff Bay has arranged a host of events and activities for families and schools including “meet an astronaut”; science buskers; exhibitions; live TV feeds to the launch and a FREE public evening event at Techniquest science centre.

Throughout the day staff from Techniquest will be in the city centre with science busking activities, a staff member in a replica space suit and space related freebies. There will be a live feed to the launch on the big TV screens in the city centre.

Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said:

The UK government is right behind UK aerospace - a global success story that creates jobs and opportunities for thousands of people. With our highly skilled workforce, and cutting edge manufacturing capability, the sector is a critical source of growth and strength for the Welsh economy.

Tim Peake’s mission will be a historic moment for the UK in space. His story is a clear demonstration that there are no limits to what can be achieved.

He is a powerful role model for the young people we need to bolster this country’s science and engineering workforce. We can be rightly proud of his achievements, and I hope that millions of young people across Wales are inspired by his incredible mission.

The day culminates in a FREE space-themed evening event at Techniquest from 5.30 to 8.00p.m. The evening event will include a question and answer session with Astronaut Pedro Duque who has flown on a shuttle mission, spent time on board the ISS, and is currently the Head of ESA’s Flight Operations Office. There will also be the opportunity to see the brand-new Destination Space family show as well as plenty of space-related hands-on activities. These include a rocket workshop, a chance to meet space experts and to see a full-scale replica of a Mars rover.

Destination Space has been developed with the UK Association of Science Discovery Centres (ASDC) and will give families the chance to learn about Tim Peake’s mission through hands-on experiments, rocket demonstrations and space equipment. The show will also be available at Techniquest next year. A new workshop for primary schools has been developed and will be delivered in Wales in 2016.

Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency said:

Human spaceflight is the ultimate in team effort with many committed individuals working to get an astronaut into space. We wanted the Destination Space programme to recognise the talents of the people who support Tim Peake and in doing so showcase all the fantastic career opportunities this sector offers young people.

Dr Anita Shaw, Acting CEO, Techniquest said:

The activities on the day of the launch, and being held at Techniquest and schools next year will provide everybody with the opportunity to be part of Tim’s spectacular mission. This is a fantastic way to discover more about space and we hope that this exciting programme will inspire the next generation of mission planners and space scientists to take up these and the many other exciting careers that are available to support the UK space industry’s ambitions.

Notes to Editors:

  • Tim Peake’s Principia mission is estimated to continue until June 2016. During that time he will be involved in many experiments aboard the ISS.

  • Wales already produces 80 percent of the world’s space glass and is aiming to generate 5% of the UK space industry by 2030. The Aerospace Wales Forum is developing this, through Wales based aerospace and technology companies working with university research centres.

UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.

The UK Space Agency:

  • Co-ordinates UK civil space activity
  • Encourages academic research
  • Supports the UK space industry
  • Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
  • Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits
  • Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
  • Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft
  • Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme