Kierann meets TimOn the 28th of September the UK Space Agency invited representatives from all the education partners who had worked on projects for Tim Peake's Principia mission last year to attend a meeting in London. The meeting was set up to debrief the participants now that many of the projects are complete, but it was also a chance for Tim himself to thank the education partners for their work in making his mission one of the most successful astronaut missions for educational impact.


 The National Space Academy's General Manager, Dr Kierann Shah, attended the meeting to represent the National Space Academy and its education project Astro Academy: Principia, which remains available and free to use for teachers everywhere through the website As well as hearing from other education partners and providing feedback on the successes and challenges of the project Kierann stayed on with other project representatives to meet Tim, who joined the meeting after a busy day at the New Scientist Live event.


Space flown Principia coinTim awarded each of the education partner representatives with a special space-flown Principia coin, featuring the design of his Principia mission patch. These coins were flown up to the ISS with Tim and then returned to Earth with him to create a unique space flown artefact linked to his mission. Kierann was delighted to accept this gift on behalf of the entire Academy team including the core team, Lead Educators, and also the Design team at the National Space Centre who created the Astro Academy: Principia website.



In her five minutes with Tim, Kierann chose to ask him if he had always wanted to be an astronaut, to find out if there were any gems of advice for a space career that he could share. It turns out that he had not – a fact that he knew that disappointed some people. He said that he always knew he wanted to fly, and that he then took every opportunity to do that, leading to his career as an army test pilot. For him it was more important to enjoy his what he was doing as he went along, rather than doing things he didn't enjoy in the hope of getting to do a specific job in the future. He compared himself to colleagues he trained with that wanted to be commanding officers in the army and had to go through lots of horrible jobs to get there, just to command for a couple of years. "It's different for different people" he said "but for me, I'd always prefer to do something I already enjoy. It's led me to opportunities I never knew I'd have."


On returning to the National Space Centre Kierann signed the Principia coin over to the collections team on behalf of the National Space Academy, along with a mission patch for Astro Academy: Principia. "I wanted the coin to become part of the story" she said "so that now it is part of a collection of artefacts at the National Space Centre relating to the historic Principia mission. It reflects the reality that many people both at the National Space Centre and the National Space Academy were able to be a part of a mission that we know visitors, schoolchildren, and teachers will be interested in for a long time to come."