News story

UK Space Agency brings astronaut’s mission to children across UK

We are investing over £1.5M in education and outreach projects that harness inspirational power of ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s space mission.

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Tim Peake

Credit: Tim Peake.

Breakdown of investment:

  • £684,868 for interactive shows at 20 UK science centres
  • £660,000 for specialist space ambassadors to visit 1000 primary schools
  • £100,000 for innovative school projects that celebrate Tim Peake’s mission
  • £140,000 for Principia Grant Scheme

Tim Peake’s invitation to schools

As British ESA astronaut Tim Peake counts down to his flight to the International Space Station (ISS), the UK Space Agency is launching and funding an array of new initiatives that will allow him to share his mission with the children of the UK, bringing the excitement of space to classrooms and venues across the country and encouraging interest in STEM subjects.

The new projects were announced today (14 July 2015) at the UK Space Conference 2015. Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson said:

Tim Peake’s space mission will be a huge moment in British history that we want young people all across the country to share in. I hope that schools and students will get involved with these fantastic projects to follow Tim’s journey and learn alongside him as he flies into space to carry out experiments aboard the International Space Station.

Interactive shows at UK Science Centres

Later this year, 20 of the nation’s top science and discovery centres will launch an inspirational and exciting hands-on programme of space activities and experiments for children, schools and families across the UK. Destination Space will be launched during the autumn and will run throughout Tim’s mission. It will give children across the nation the chance to learn about Tim Peake’s mission through hands-on experiments, rocket demonstrations, astronaut equipment and live video from the International Space Station.

Tim Peake Primary Project

The Tim Peake Primary Project, delivered to the country by the UK Space Education Office (ESERO-UK), co-funded by ESA and UKSA, will engage with 1000 primary schools, delivering a range of free space activities that will help primary students to engage with science, numeracy and literacy. Starting in September 2015 it will be working with primary schools to increase:

  • enjoyment and engagement in all lessons using the context of space
  • confidence in learning science and working scientifically
  • knowledge of career opportunities available to pupils who study science, technology and maths subjects
  • teacher confidence in teaching space topics

The ESERO-UK network of Space Ambassadors will help schools take part in a range of space activities that have been created to support Tim’s mission to the ISS. These activities will also include professional development for teachers.

Example activities include:

  • free access to resources and activities developed to link with Tim Peake’s mission
  • ‘Rocket Science’ - planting rocket seeds that have flown in space
  • Astro Pi resources, which help teach computing using a Raspberry Pi computer
  • help in achieving the Space Education Quality Mark (
  • loans of a ‘Space Case’ of resources to support teaching of materials
  • in-classroom support to deliver inspiring space lessons
  • teacher Continuing Professional Development (CPD) delivered face-to-face or online

Tim Peake Grant Scheme

In addition to the Tim Peake Primary Project, ESERO-UK, with funding from the UK Space Agency, has grants of £1000 available for both primary and secondary schools to apply for. The money will be used for innovative projects to celebrate Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station. Projects will be creative, have a lasting impact and can cover a wide range of subjects, including STEM, art, design, drama, food, and music. Schools must submit their proposals by Wednesday 22 July 2015.

Principia projects

To complement the work of the Tim Peake Primary Project and Grant Scheme, the UK Space Agency is also running a host of other education and outreach projects across a variety of subjects. 9 of these projects have just been selected under the Principia Grant Scheme.

The 9 new projects, ranging from film making to space radiation experiments, will be run by other organisations and will support the education and outreach opportunities presented by Tim’s mission to the ISS.

The scheme was open to both organisations and individuals with innovative ideas for projects that support the education aims of the UK Space Agency and encourage participation in STEM subjects.

Funding has been awarded to The Royal Institution, Unlimited Theatre, Literature Works, Into Film, Gallomanor, Glasgow Science Festival, The Langton Star Centre, Astrobiology Society of Britain and University of Nottingham and Lucy Hawking/ Curved House Kids with the support of Professor Peter McOwan at QMUL.

Published 14 July 2015