ISSETs LIVE Link-up with Astronaut Scott Kelly, aboard the International Space Station

Last Wednesday, a sold out audience of 500+ people at the Greenwood Theatre, King’s College London were lucky enough to be part of a live video conference and Q&A with Astronaut Scott Kelly, from aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The momentous evening was hosted by record-breaking Astronaut Mike Foale, along with director and founder of ISSET, Chris Barber and Professor of Human & Applied Physiology at King’s College, London, Steve Harridge. The event was held by ISSET in partnership with Pint of Science and took place during our week long ‘Mission Discovery‘ Space & STEM programme.

ISS Link Up

Chris and Steve opened the night by touching briefly on Chris’ time spent with Scott prior to his launch in March earlier this year. Before long, the nod was given by Houston Mission Control to begin the video link up with the ISS. Scott appeared on screen evoking a roaring applause, but the audience were left hanging in suspense in the following moments as there was no reaction or response from him. Houston, unfortunately, had a problem.

We knew that Scott would be unable to see us on the ISS, but there seemed to be a fault with the sound. After some cutting silence, Scott reached for a second mic and, much to everyones relief, his voice was beamed through to the theatre, receiving an even greater applause. We had made contact with the Space Station. The video conference was now underway and it was a very exciting realisation.


Director of ISSET Chris Barber asked Scott about a conspiracy theory that his twin brother Mark Kelly is actually on the ISS and not him, to which he replied:

“Well Chris…I’m pretty sure it’s me.”

The humour continued throughout the talk. When answering a question about food taste in space, Chris added that Mike Foale had been for a nice dinner earlier that evening, which produced a big smile on Scott’s face.


Many great questions were asked during the evening, but perhaps the most poignant of all was “Has being in space changed your perception of life on Earth?” Scott answered that two things come to mind:

“One that the Earth doesn’t look all that big. There are no political borders that you can see, so it makes it seem like everyone’s kind of a citizen of one planet – planet Earth, versus any particular country. The second thing is that the atmosphere that keeps us alive is actually very thin and should be protected.

The link-up ended in style with Scott somersaulting backwards in the weightless microgravity environment to masses of applause. It was a truly memorable evening for all.

Scott is spending one year in space on the International Space Station. He and Russian astronaut Mikhail Korniyenko have been there since 27 March 2015 and the goal of the year-long expedition aboard the orbiting laboratory is to understand better how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

You can watch the full video conference below:


Congratulations to the winning team at King’s College, London Mission Discovery

Congratulations to the winning team at Mission Discovery ‪#‎STEM‬ summer school at King’s College London last week. Team ‘Icarus’ won with their experiment idea to test if electricity generating bacteria, once taken to a microgravity environment, will increase either the rate or amount of electricity generated when compared with the same process on Earth.

King 2015 Winning Photo med

Their experiment will be launched to space in the coming months, along with the winning experiments from this years other programmes in Scotland and Wales.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in this years Mission Discovery programmes and we look forward to working with you all again in the future.

Our next destination is Caerphilly, South Wales in October 26th – 30th, 2015.

Mission Discovery goes international thanks to Reuters

Thanks to Reuters for covering our story!


Video Link:

You can read more or sign up today for the next Mission Discovery Summer School at King’s College, London on the 13th-17th July, 2015 by visiting the following link.

Mission Discovery is an ISSET programme which invites students to work directly with astronauts, astronaut trainers, rocket scientists, and NASA leaders for a week. Students spend the week learning from the Mission Discovery team, with the aim to design an experiment to be launched into space. Successful experiments will be performed aboard the International Space Station.

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.

Astronaut Leadership Experience… Mission Complete

On May 8th 2014, four teams of 10 students aged 17 – 46 made the wise decision to set out on an ALE (Astronaut Leadership Experience) program in the Lake District over 4 days. Conquering mountain peaks, rock climbs, fast flowing ghylls, building zip wires over 60 meter gorges & orienteering their way through the moors.

ALE students were joined by NASA astronaut Mike Foale who helped lead them through their daily outdoor challenges & gave them inspirational mentoring in the class room by night. Here at ALE we are truly honoured to work Mike Foale, who we regard as one of the space industries heroes, having played a crucial role in saving the MIR space station after a collision in orbit.

We look forward to working with him this summer at Kings College London, for Mission Discovery;


ALE student taking the plunge…

If you can achieve this, you really can do anything! Abgalabdi Abdi – Coventry University

The best thing I have ever done! Kyle Collins – Milton Keynes

There is no way my wife & kids would believe I could have done anything like this. Thank you! Andy Nyanyo – Coventry University

With the safe return of every member of all teams, the expeditions have successfully completed their missions. Completing each challenge was a goal, but it was never the priority for these role models, and their efforts to inspire themselves and other students to get outside get active, lead their team and chase their dreams which has already had a profound impact on their lives.

The expedition designed, developed and led by ALE (Astronaut Leadership Experience) has inspired a generation of youth to reach their own great heights, not just in the outdoors but also in education & the work place.

The Astronaut Leadership Experience exposes people to the challenges of human survival similar to exploration on a distant planet. A wilderness environment simulates the physical realities associated with establishing and maintaining a human presence where none existed before. Explorers will learn the leadership, team building and communication skills required to conduct complex missions. The challenging environment will enable the explorers to help each other and work as a team in a truly unique situation.” Ken Ham – NASA Astronaut and Space Shuttle Commander

To sign up to our next available program in the Lake District please visit;

Also check out photo’s from this latest ALE program;

About ALE

When NASA forms an astronaut crew they undertake leadership training in remote & wild areas.

ALE has been constructed by astronauts & astronaut trainers, replicating aspects of an astronaut’s team building training to enable you to undergo similar leadership exercises to a NASA space shuttle crew.

Founded in 2009 by Chris Barber, ALE takes students of all ages on remote wilderness expeditions, teaching them fundamental leadership principals.

ALE uses the outdoors to teach students about responsibility for themselves, their team & their surroundings. It is not something that can be taught over a desk or at your morning meeting. On your ALE course you’ll learn how to make decisions, develop confidence, and work through challenges with your team mates. Overall, you’ll work hard, have fun, and return home with leadership skills to last a lifetime.

ALE schools are instructed by outdoor professionals, leadership experts & ex-NASA astronauts. This creates a strong blend of technical skills, teaching abilities & a large range of personal & professional success. In between the outdoor activities will be fun team building challenges, along with evening leadership classes from the resident astronaut. We believe that the key to successful learning is to enjoy what you’re doing, and this is something our instructors work by every day!

We offer courses for large groups that you can join, as well as tailor made courses just for your group. We expect a lot of work from our students & in return we give you fantastic personal rewards for those who want to learn how to lead.

You can book online or give us a call and a member of our team will be happy to help you get the best out of your ALE course.

Has NASA found Earth’s cousin planet?

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has been hunting exoplanets for the past 5 years, with the intention of finding Earths doppelganger. A planet that is essentially like ours in terms of size, composition, and habitability: an Earth-twin.

Kepler still hasn’t found a planet that exactly fits the bill; it has confirmed the discovery of an Earth-sized exoplanet in what appears to be a habitable zone.

Kepler-186f is about 10% larger than Earth and orbits an M dwarf star around 500 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The star is about half of the size and mass of our sun, and it takes Kepler-186f about 130 Earth days to complete a revolution. On the outer edge of the star’s habitable zone, the planet receives about a third of the radiation from its parent star as we do from ours. 

Our existence relies on the presence of liquid water, so a planet with the potential for life would be not too close to the star (which would be too hot and the water would be vapor) yet not too far away (where it would be too cold and the water would be ice). Habitability requires conditions to be just right.

“We know of just one planet where life exists — Earth. When we search for life outside our solar system we focus on finding planets with characteristics that mimic that of Earth,” said Elisa Quintana, lead author of the paper. “Finding a habitable zone planet comparable to Earth in size is a major step forward.”

Co-author Thomas Barclay added: “Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has. Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth.”

Determining the composition of planets out in the habitable zone isn’t as easy as those who are incredibly close to the star, because there isn’t as much radiation from the parent star available to determine what is or isn’t getting absorbed. While previous findings have indicated that Kepler-186f is a rocky planet, further analysis must be done before any definitive conclusions can be made.