Teachers train like an astronaut at long arm centrifuge facility

05 Jun 2014

Students and teachers taking part in the hugely popular science, education and fitness programme, Mission X ‘Train Like An Astronaut’, took their astronaut training to a new level with a visit to the man-carrying centrifuge facility at QinetiQ in Farnborough on Tuesday 3 June 2014.

Students and teachers taking part in Mission X ‘Train Like An Astronaut’ 2014 visit QinetiQ’s centrifuge

Students from two schools – Banbury Space Studio School, Oxfordshire and St Andrews and St Marks Primary School in Kingston visited the specialist facility, unique in the UK, which is used to prepare fighter pilots and astronauts for the high G forces of air combat and launch/re-entry. During their visit students witnessed the physiological effects of the Earth’s gravity in the laboratory and saw how such effects become problematic at the higher levels of ‘gravity’ experienced when the human body is exposed to acceleration. Man-carrying centrifuges were made famous in the Moonraker film when James Bond was nearly tested to destruction.

Students had an opportunity to help conduct pre-flight tests on their teachers and then watch them experience G forces of up to 4.4G on the centrifuge. Alec Stevenson, Senior Scientist at QinetiQ and veteran of over 1000 personal exposures to high G, helped prepare teachers to cope with G forces. Alec was accompanied by Dr Des Connolly, a QinetiQ fellow and world-renowned expert in aerospace medicine research to provide medical insights gained from supervising over 6000 individual human centrifuge exposures.

Tim Peake, British ESA Astronaut says: “Once again Mission X has been a fantastic success in the UK and across Europe - congratulations to all those who have taken part. It has been great fun meeting so many of the students and discovering the many different projects they have been involved in. Let's continue to inspire the next generation with fun science, healthy eating and good exercise - go Mission X! ”

Jeremy Curtis from the UK Space Agency commented: “I’ve been amazed by the commitment of teachers and students to the Mission X challenge. The teamwork and enthusiasm for science, fitness and nutrition will be important to the space workforce of the future.”

Alec Stevenson from QinetiQ, says: “We were delighted to welcome Mission X to our centrifuge facility in Farnborough and to give children and teachers the chance to really see and experience what pilots and astronauts experience. We usually use the facility for training and research so it’s great to see children visit the facility and hopefully feel inspired to take up a career in science, engineering or technology in the future.”

Over 9000 children from 110 schools took part in Mission X Train Like An Astronaut 2014. The programme is organised in the UK by the UK Space Agency and is part of an international initiative led by NASA and ESA.

Dr Hannah Garrett from the UK Space Agency presented participants with their Astronaut Graduation certificates on the day.

Mission X Train Like An Astronaut will start recruiting for the class of 2015 in the autumn. To register an interest visit: http://www.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/discover-and-learn/mission-x-in-the-uk.

Contact Details:

Heather MacRae heather@venturethinking.com 0781 5768699 or 01279 817370
Follow the day using twitter #MXUK @spacegovuk @trainastronaut.

Notes for Editors:

Mission X is an international educational programme designed by NASA and led in the UK by the UK Space Agency. It aims to inspire interest in science, nutrition and fitness in school students aged 8 – 12 years old by using astronauts as role models. It uses astronaut training to teach how good diet and exercise play an important role in human performance in space and on Earth.
For more information on the international Mission X programme, and to download the free resources, visit: http://trainlikeanastronaut.org/.
About UK Space Agency UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions. For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-space-agency
A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its domain knowledge to provide technical support and know-how to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments, intelligence services and security agencies.
Follow us on twitter @QinetiQ

For further information, please contact QinetiQ Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 39 3500
Email: PressOffice@QinetiQ.com

QinetiQ People Who Know How
Teachers train like an astronaut at long arm centrifuge facility