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

“Hello, World!”: Comet Chaser Rosetta awakens after nearly 3 years of hibernation

The mood was tense Monday night at ESA HQ, as the Rosetta team waited with baited breath for their sleeping satellite to awaken and send a signal back to its creators…

The Rosetta satellite was conceived to hunt down the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, discovered in 1969. Comets such as 67P are like “time capsules, they are remnants of the birth of the solar system and they go back to the beginning of the solar system more than 4.6 billion years ago,” said Mark McCaughrean, senior scientific advisor with ESA’s Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration. Rosetta’s goal by the end of the year is to land a small probe (named Philae) on the comet to study its dust and gas, and help us learn more about the evolution of the solar system.

“When the solar system was forming out of gas and dust, it formed the planets, the one we live on today, it formed asteroids and it formed the comets. And the comets are a remnant, therefore, something we can investigate about the very earliest phases of the evolution and the birth of our own solar system.”

The ice that forms in comets can “give us great clues to the origin not only of our own solar system, but potentially even life, because we know that comets also contain organic molecules, the building blocks of even DNA and RNA. We know that there are amino acids in comets, for example,” said McCaughrean, “So comets play a key role in our understanding of the cycle of star formation, planet formation, perhaps life formation.”

Luckily, despite being over 15 minutes late, Rosetta’s signal finally reached the ESA in Paris to rapturous excitement. “I told you it would work!” said lead project scientist Matt Taylor, smiling. “We will face many challenges this year as we explore the unknown territory of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and I’m sure there will be plenty of surprises, but today we are just extremely happy to be back on speaking terms with our spacecraft,” he added. The spacecraft is certainly awakening to a different world; videos with the hashtag #WakeUpRosetta have gone viral, and it seems as though the whole world has been eagerly anticipating the event.

What was Rosetta’s next action after reporting back to her creators? A simple tweet to her fans; “Hello World!” Nice to see the fame hasn’t gone to her head!

Follow us on Twitter @IntSpaceSchool Or Instagram @issetspace for more space exploration updates!

ISSET meets Tim Peake, NASA’s first British astronaut

2015 will see Major Tim Peake become the first official British astronaut ever, after securing a place on the International Space Station in May 2013.

On our most recent Space Centre Experience, Tim travelled out to Boondoggles Pub in Houston to meet up with ISSET’s group of Australian postgraduate and undergraduate engineers, along with other active astronauts Scott Kelly, Tony Antonelli and Shannon Walker. The bar was packed; the Houston Tigers baseball team were on course to lose their 10th game in a row, and their fans were crammed into the space hoping to see their team break the horrible losing streak. They didn’t. By the end of the game, the bar died down, allowing the students to converse comfortably with the astronauts.

Tim has recently written an article for the Sunday Telegraph, revealing the complex training he underwent, which tested “skills such as memory retention, concentration, spatial awareness and coordination” alongside “psychological questionnaires that were to become the benchmark of this selection process – hundreds of repetitive questions, aimed at ensuring consistency of answers over a long duration”. In a Newsnight interview he said that this was probably the main criteria for his selection; “you have to be the right character, and you have to get on with people”.

Patriot: Tim in front of the Union Jack as the first British astronaut.

“Although good physical fitness is a strong attribute, the medical selection was not looking for potential Olympians,” Peake said. “Instead, it was intended to select those individuals who pose the least risk of having a medical occurrence during their career. Space is no place to become ill – and although the Soyuz spacecraft offers an emergency return to Earth in less than 12 hours from the International Space Station, this would be an absolute last resort and one that will not be available once we begin to reach out beyond low Earth orbit once again.”

He also rather poetically said that seeing the Earth from space will “undoubtedly be one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights” he will ever witness, and will “provide a unique perspective from which to reflect on the wonders of our universe and our place in it.”

Tim on BBC’s Newsnight last year defending the purpose of space exploration against a grumpy Jeremy Paxman.

Tim has been an instrumental figure in the resurgence of the UK space industry, and hopefully seeing a Briton orbiting the earth will inspire a lot more British astronauts. Tim said he was delighted to find that of the final 22 candidates to fly to the ISS, 5 of them were also British. Given that they had all been picked from a pool of around 10,000 Europeans, this seemed like a clear sign that attitudes towards spaceflight were changing in the UK. Now, with the government increasing their spending on space travel, and projects such as the Skylon spaceplane finally starting to come together, it truly is, as Tim says, an “exciting time” for space travel in Britain. We’re very pleased for Tim and wish him all the best on the ISS!

If you’re interested in meeting astronauts like Tim and other leading figures of human spaceflight and touring the major US Space Centres, head here to sign up!