How Tim Peake's Principia mission continues to inspire young people in STEM

By Tom Lyons posted 08-12-2021 16:23


15th December marks six years since Tim Peake launched to the International Space Station on his Principia mission. Tim was, and is, the first British European Space Agency astronaut.  He spent nearly seven months on the ISS, carrying out multiple experiments and performing space walks to fix or improve parts of the station.

Back on Earth, we were working with hundreds of schools from across the UK to use Tim’s mission as an inspiring context for STEM subjects – as were many other organisations. The UK Space Agency funded multiple organisations - from the Royal Horticultural Society to the Raspberry Pi Foundation - to use Tim’s mission as a hook to inspire young people to take up STEM subjects. 

Many schools are still using the resources developed, and some have become fully fledged challenges run annually through the European Space Agency: take a look at Climate Detectives and Astro-Pi.

Some of the older children who took part in the activities for the Principia mission will be just starting out in their early careers now. Regardless of whether it’s in the space industry, another STEM job, or anywhere else, we hope that the mission provided inspiration for them, and also provided a better understanding of the STEM careers available to them in the UK. 

Hopefully, Tim will fly again in the near future, but in the meantime there are many inspiring events planned in the UK linked to space which are perfect for engaging young people…

  • The ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover, designed and built in the UK, will launch to Mars in 2022. The Rover will search for evidence for past or current life on Mars. We have our own Mars page on the website with resources, and we’ll be running Mars Day 2022, on March 14th.  Find out more through    
  • The first commercial satellites from British soil will be launched in summer 2022. The Logo Lift Off competition gives primary school children the chance to design a logo that will go on the side of the rocket launching this first satellite.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope will launch from French Guiana around midday on 22nd The UK designed and built one of the key instruments on board, and there’s an education page dedicated to the mission at
1 comment



09-12-2021 09:29

Don't forget the work done by ARISS in organising amateur radio contacts with Tim. How inspiring it was to speak to Tim while he was in orbit!