Education & Family

Pupils to speak to Tim Peake in video-link to space

Tim Peake, Yuri Malachenko and Tim Kopra Image copyright Dmitry Lovetsky
Image caption Tim Peake (left) posed for photographs with fellow crew members a day ahead of the launch

UK pupils are being offered the chance to speak to astronaut Maj Tim Peake by video-link next year, during his six-month mission around the Earth.

More than 1,000 schools, both primary and secondary, have already signed up.

A few pupils will be able to question Maj Peake directly, others will send questions via social media.

Organisers described the Times Educational Supplement and European Space Agency link-up as a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

Maj Peake will devote 20 minutes of his time on board the International Space Station (ISS) to the event, early in February.

The organisers are inviting every UK school to register and send in questions and ideas from pupils in advance.

The link-up, dubbed the Cosmic Classroom, aims to be "world's largest schools and space science event".

Separately, three Norfolk schools and the University of East Anglia will hold a 10-minute radio-link conversation with the astronaut.

Blast-off

Millions of people worldwide, including the prime minister, tuned in to watch Maj Peake's blast-off from Kazakhstan on the Principia mission.

Image copyright NASA
Image caption The Soyuz rocket, with Tim Peake among the crew, launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, bound for the International Space Station

The UK's first ESA astronaut is expected to inspire new interest in space travel, in schools.

Jeremy Curtis, head of education at the UK Space Agency (UKSA) said Maj Peake was "very keen to make sure that young people across the UK can play their part in his mission".

"We're sure pupils will suggest some interesting things for Tim to do to help him share his experience of living and working in space," said Mr Curtis.

TES Global's chief education adviser, Lord Knight urged every teacher in the country "to sign up now, to make it the world's largest schools and space science event".

"The countdown to the Cosmic Classroom begins now, and I await with anticipation the creative, insightful and entertaining ideas our teachers and their classes come up with." said Lord Knight.

Earlier this year, York University researchers began a three-year project looking at the influence of human space travel in popularising science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects.

In particular, the researchers are assessing how the views of primary and secondary pupils are affected by Maj Peake's ISS mission.

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