Academy teams up with Raspberry Pi at the Science Museum to celebrate top award for astronaut Tim Peake

Posted on 17/10/2019 by IED

Tim Peake, the UK’s first European Space Agency astronaut, recently received one of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s top accolades at a special event for 400 school pupils at the Science Museum IMAX in London. Tim shared with the pupils his experience of travelling into space aboard a Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station and how his successful mission depended on engineering and science.

Academy CEO Dr Hayaatun Sillem presented Tim with the 2019 Rooke Award for public engagement with engineering, in recognition of his nationwide promotion of engineering and space. He personally spearheaded the Principia mission’s education programme, the largest and most successful educational campaign supporting a European astronaut mission.

Eighty lucky pupils then attended a special space-themed CoderDojo session in the Flight Gallery, where they had an introduction to programming. This session was led by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a charity with a mission to put the power of technology in the hands of young people all over the world. At the core of this is the Raspberry Pi, the world’s most affordable computer, and their free educational programmes, such as CoderDojo and the Astro Pi challenge, run in partnership with the European Space Agency.

Raspberry Pi formed an integral part of Tim Peake’s space mission as two Raspberry Pi computers travelled to the ISS with him on their own mission. These tiny computers, called Astro Pis, were used to measure the environment on board the ISS, and give schoolchildren the chance to have their code run in space. The Astro Pi challenge continues to allow schoolchildren the opportunity to run their programs in space.

Tim Peake started his career as a British Army Air Corps officer. In 2005, after being selected for test pilot training, he went on to graduate from the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down and, in 2006, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in flight dynamics and evaluation from the University of Portsmouth.

After nearly 18 years of military service, Tim left the British Army, beating over 9,000 other applicants for one of six coveted places on the European Space Agency (ESA) new astronaut training programme.

In May 2009, he was selected as an ESA astronaut and graduated from astronaut basic training in November 2010. Tim spent a further three years in training, working as a communicator with the International Space Station before his assignment to a long duration mission in 2013.

Launching in a Soyuz rocket on 15 December 2015, Tim became the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his eventful six-month mission. He has since taken part in over 250 scientific experiments for ESA and international partners during his mission.

Tim was determined to make Principia an exciting and engaging adventure for young people and has used the opportunity to inspire them in the science and engineering of human spaceflight. Through an educational outreach programme of more than 30 projects, to date, Tim’s Principia mission has inspired and engaged more than two million school children in 10,000 schools – a third of all the schools in the UK.

Tim Peake said:

"It’s a huge honour to receive the 2019 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Award for promoting engineering to the public. Engineering is so incredibly important to our lives today, it can help us find solutions to many of the challenges that we face, as well as drive innovation and improve the quality of life for people around the world.

“That is why it is vital to inspire and engage young people from all backgrounds and encourage them to consider a career in engineering."

Pete Lomas FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a founder of Raspberry Pi, said:

“As a founder of Raspberry Pi, I was thrilled that Tim acted as a personal ambassador for the Astro Pi programme. This gave young people across the UK the opportunity to develop their computing skills by writing code that ran on the specially engineered Raspberry Pi computers onboard the ISS.

“Thanks to Tim’s enthusiastic support for all Principia educational programmes and his passion for space exploration, over two million young people positively engaged with science and engineering across the various programmes. I’m delighted that Tim is the recipient of the 2019 Rooke Medal.”

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