Credit: ESA

The Online Home of Principia Mission

It’s now just a few weeks until the first UK astronaut to go to the ISS sets off on their historic journey. Now you can get involved and follow all the progress the website dedicated to this mission here

UK astronaut Tim Peake has a background in the army air corps, a helicopter test pilot with a degree in flight dynamics and evaluation, and speaks in this clip below

The mission is called Principia to celebrate Isaac Newton’s ground-breaking text on physics,Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (“Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), which described the principal laws of motion and gravity on which all space travel depends.

See Tim carrying out ESA’s winter survival training

Tim will fly to the ISS as a member of the Expedition 46/47 crew.  He will be launched on a Soyuz from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 15 December 2015 alongside NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.  They will join the international crew already on the ISS, briefly bringing the number to nine, and then reverting to the more usual complement of six, before returning in May 2016.

Some of the kit preceding Tim’s arrival was destroyed in Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket disaster, and so the back-up kit had to be sent on the Soyuz flight earlier this month. Tim will be conducting experiments on board the ISS, creating a series of films to be used in classrooms around the UK to teach students fundamentals of physics and chemistry, in addition to showcasing aspects of the UK space industry, currently employing over 30,000 people and worth over £11 billion per year to the UK economy.

In this video Tim experiences 8G in centrifuge tests

The mission could engage thousands of students in the UK, and inspire them to view careers in science as dynamic and exciting; something the UK badly needs with shortages of graduates in STEM subjects, reported to reach a shortfall of 100,000 in coming years.

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