ITV Wales to interview ISSET students about their ‘Star City’ Experience


ISSET students Corrie and Kate watching the Tim Peake launch with astronaut Pedro Duque

Ahead of Tim Peake’s launch to the International Space Station earlier today, ISSET students are getting ready for their interview with ITV Wales tonight at 18:00pm. The students will be sharing stories from their recent week long visit with us to ‘Star City’ –  a top secret cosmonaut training centre in Russia where Tim’s astronaut training took place.


ITV will be covering the story this evening at 18:00pm



Follow in the footsteps of Tim Peake

Astronaut Tim Peake successfully left Earth’s atmosphere at 11:03am this morning, 15 Dec 2015, to embark on his six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Tim and his crewmate Yuri Malenchenko, will be joining ISSET colleague and NASA’s Space Station Commander Scott Kelly at 17:23 on the ISS.

The road to space exploration has been a long one for Tim. Until May 2009 Tim served in the Army Air Corps flying Apache helicopters. Following this, he was accepted by the European Space Agency (ESA) as a British astronaut. Tim then went on to complete his first year of basic astronaut training.


Major Tim Peake, along with many astronauts and cosmonauts before him, proceeded to spend 6,000 hours of intense training at the Yuri Gagarin high-security Cosmonaut Training Complex in Star City near Moscow, Russia. His training included a wide range of experiences including; simulating g-loads, mission specific, suit training, medical observation and medical testing, and astronavigation. Incredibly, the centre is home to full-size mock ups of all major spacecraft developed since the Soviet era including the Soyuz (used today) and Buran Vehicles.

Tim also completed outdoor wilderness survival training, learning from Russia’s most highly regarded wilderness experts. It is essential that all astronauts and cosmonauts are equipped with team building, lifesaving and survival skills in case the Soyuz Capsule lands off target upon re-entry to Earth.


Tim and his crewmates during their wilderness survival training

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ISSET Students completing wilderness survival training

ISSET are now offering YOU the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of astronaut Tim Peake and experience what it’s like to train like a cosmonaut!



There’s a fun side to space and what we do and the educational programmes we run, but when it comes to actually getting into a Soyuz rocket – and the operational tasks that we have to peform – you need to be focused and serious.” – Astronaut Tim Peake

Spend the week with British born, 6 times record-breaking astronaut Michael Foale, at the Yuri Gagarin high-security Cosmonaut Training Complex in Star City from 26th March – 1st April, 2016.

  • Learn from Tim’s instructors on the same equipment which he spent the last two years training on.
  • Sit in the cockpit of Russia’s ‘Buran’ Space Shuttle experiencing what it’s like to be a cosmonaut.
  • Try on one of the retired Sokol Space Suits worn by cosmonauts in space.
  • Test your pilot skills and see whether you could dock the Soyuz Rocket to the ISS.
  • Challenge your leadership skills in Star City’s Wilderness Survival Training, a key factor in any cosmonaut and astronaut training.
Under the MIR Space Station Command Module with 6 times Astronaut and programme leader, Michael Foale

Under the Mir Space Station Command Module with 6 times astronaut and programme leader, Michael Foale


This experience has been life-changing and will stay with us for the rest of our lives.” – David Casson, past participant from Kent, UK

For more information on how you can join the world’s elite and train like a cosmonaut/astronaut visit:


Or Contact ISSET on: 029 2071 0295

Remembering Astronaut Rick Husband, Commander of STS-107 Columbia

We had the great privilege to meet, work with and know Rick Husband, the astronaut and Commander of STS-107 Columbia which blew up on 1 February 2003, tragically killing all of the astronauts on board.


We first met Rick when he and Canadian astronaut Julie Payette visited the UK on an ISSET tour of schools, colleges and universities. Without question Rick was as able, nice and generous a person anybody could ever hope to meet. He is missed by us, like anyone who had known him.

We have included some images of Rick on his visit to schools and Wales and our cultural and enjoyable day out at Tintern Abbey.

Martin,Chris Rick &Julie

Director and founder of ISSET, Chris Barber with Astronauts Rick Husband and Julie Payette.

Tintern Abbey Julie Payette

At the top of Tintern Abbey, Chepstow with Astronauts Rick Husband and Julie Payette.

rick husband 29th jan

1st isset progrmme aims

With Rick Husband and Julie Payette atlanta college

Rick is really fondly remembered by all of us and we are still grateful for his contributions to our programme and young people.

Photo 29-01-2015 13 37 57 copy

“If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right”

NASA Astronaut Visit – Mike Foale – March 2015

In March 2015, ISSET will be bringing former NASA Astronaut and International Space Station Commander Mike Foale to the United Kingdom once more.

NASA Astronaut Mike Foale at UK School

Mike is the most experienced British born astronaut in the history of human space travel having flown on 6 Space Shuttle missions, a Soyuz and commanded the International Space Stations. He was the first Briton to perform a spacewalk, during which he saved the Hubble Space Telescope.

During his visit, Mike will inspire and motivate people across the UK. He will also lead the Astronaut Leadership Experience Programme in the Lake District 5th – 8th March, 2015 – You can view further details and sign up for this programme at our website.

Rosetta Space Craft About to Land on a Comet

It is great to be able to look at another incredible first in space exploration. Today, at 11:03 a.m. ET (1603 GMT) the space craft Rosetta’s, Philae lander is scheduled to land on Comet, 67P/C-G. This incredible accomplishment follows a 10 1/2 year journey into deep space since the launch in March 2004.


You can watch the progress descent and landing live on NASA TV at the following link.

Whilst much of our understanding of space, the stars and our planets comes from observation, usually from afar, the Rosetta mission gives us a chance to carry out a detailed study of a comet. Without doubt, it is old massive clues about the origin of the solar system and the original building materials at the solar system, dating back almost 5 billion years.

There are many theories relating to comments, some hold that they are responsible for delivering water to the planets and others that comets could have provided the chemical catalysts to have started life on Earth.

Follow this link to hear David Shukman explained how the Philae lander will make its incredibly difficult and complex landing on the comet over 5,000,000 miles away from home.

NASA’s Unmanned US Orbital Rocket Antares Explodes During Launch


The Antares rocket exploded seconds after launch. The rocket was carrying the Orb-3 Cygnus spacecraft on a mission intended to deliver payloads (experiments and hardware) to the International Space Station. Cygnus is an automated, non-manned spacecraft.

orb-3 rocket

ISSET’s US Director and former Senior NASA Astronaut Trainer Michelle Ham was at the launch. I wish to reiterate all of her comments regarding the difficulties and hazards of space travel, and how heart breaking this explosion is for the rocket engineers, the launch controllers and the designers of the on-board experiments and hardware.

We have a close affinity with Orbital Science, as our first space experiments were launched to the ISS on board Orb-1 last January and our next experiments were to be launched aboard Orb-4.

I understand that no one was injured in the explosion, and believe this is a testament to the care and safety procedures of Orbital in Science.

I am included to videos in this blog, the first show of last night’s failure and the second is a reminder of Orbital Science’s more successful ventures when they launched the ISSET experiments in January 2014.

I wish Orbital Science the very best of luck and efficiencies in recovering from this setback.

An Evening at Cardiff Castle

First of all, I would like to apologise for my absence from contributing to this blog. I have been inspired to start blogging again by President Obama’s visit to Cardiff Castle last night.



I am inspired because Cardiff Castle was the venue for ISSET’s inaugural event.  This was a dinner in 1999, with special guests George Abbey, the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, Cosmonaut General, Yuri Glazkov, the Director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, and five times astronaut Bonnie Dunbar.


Our dinner at Cardiff Castle was also a historic event in so far as it was the first time that NASA and Russian Space Agency directors had met in any other country other than Russia and the United States.


The image below shows everyone at Cardiff Castle, together with Yuri’s wife, Liubov (she was a world aerobatics champion) and his daughter, Katya. Tragically, all of the family have died since our event. Yuri is a great loss as he was a novelist, a scientist and a historian as well as being a cosmonaut, a general and a leader of one of the world’s two space exploration powers.

I am pleased to say that George Abbey is still thriving involved in space exploration activities and is currently the senior fellow at the Baker Institute of RiceUniversity. Bonnie has ceased to be an astronaut, and since leaving NASA has had an influential career in education.


I’m delighted that President Obama is following in our footsteps, and I hope that his evening at Cardiff Castle was as enjoyable and enlightening as our evening back in 1999.