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Educational experiments arrive safely at International Space Station

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

Launched from Kazakhstan on Tuesday 1 September on board 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 our Space Research Centre (SRC).

‘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.

Scientists in our Space Research Centre 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."

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