Tim Peake Schools ConferenceThe National Space Academy was extremely pleased to attend the UK Space Agency’s Principia Schools Conferences in Portsmouth and York to present their own Principia project, Astro Academy: Principia.

The first day of each conference was focussed on outreach and engagement. Lead Educator Conor Davies attended the event on Sunday 6 November in York, and Regional Project Manager Christopher Duff attended the event on 1 November in Portsmouth.



Chris provided students and teachers from around the UK, and local primary schools, with hands on demonstrations on the scale of the solar system, and how the physics of circular motion describes the principles which can keep water in a spinning cup, and the International Space Station travelling around the Earth.


Tim Peake Schools ConferenceFor Conor, the audience was more diverse, with the general public learning about the Tim Peake demonstration videos and how the physics principles of momentum, circular motion, simple harmonic motion and the kinetic theory of gasses are applicable on Earth as they are on board the International Space Station.

The second day of each conference was for the students to present their own projects to scientists and space companies from the UK space sector.

The students, 400 or so, aged from 4-18 put up posters of their work for the professionals to admire and ask questions.

Tim Peake Schools ConferenceWith topics ranging from coding a raspberry PI to growing rocket seeds, to the multiple human science experiments Tim conducted on himself.

The conferences included keynote talks from space industry professional and the educational organisations involved in the Principia education programmes.


Tim Peake himself opened each career conference with a talk about his six-month mission to the International Space Station, where he made history earlier this year when he became the first astronaut representing the UK to complete a spacewalk. Some of the students were very lucky to get meet Tim in person.

Chris said “These conferences are a great opportunity for not only the organisations involved in the Principia mission to showcase their work to school students, but for the students to experience the real environment of a conference and to present their work to the leaders of the space industry”.

Conor said “It was great to be able to share in the enthusiasm of all those who attended the workshops. There is a genuine buzz and interest about Tim’s work and about space in general. The more we can engage with the general public and make science and physics relevant to the real world, the better prepared we will be to take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities the space industry has to offer”.