The asdc national Astronaut Programme Information and Invitation to Participate

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The ASDC National Astronaut Programme

Information and Invitation to Participate

tim peake training (14).jpg

A National Engagment Programme for Families Celebrating the European Space Agency's

First British Astronaut

Deadline for Applications: March 10 2015

Be at the heart of celebrations for the UK's Astronaut Mission

On Friday November 20th 2015 the European Space Agency's first British astronaut, Tim Peake, will launch into space. He will be spending 6 months working onboard the International Space Station, before returning to earth in May 2016.

To celebrate this exciting mission, the UK Association for Science and Discovery has partnered with the UK Space Agency to createand deliver an exceptional National Astronaut Programme. The programme will engage, inspire and involve families with school age children across the UK with the amazing stories, science, team work and innovation in human space flight, and the achievements of Tim Peake.

We are now seeking 15 Science and Discovery Centres and Science Museums across the UK to partner with us for this once in a life-time programme.

Please understand that all Mission dates and times within this Document could change - this is Space Travel after all.

We are asking 15 UK science centres to leverage their exceptional talents in engaging families with science in fun and engaging ways, as well as their relationships with press, PR and other partners to publically celebrate the mission in a way that works for them and their family audiences.

The 15 selected centres will be given a host of resources, including a bespoke family show, staff training on the mission and the space station, easy use of films and images from The European Space Agency and the International Space Station, special equipment and a series of hands on activities for meet the expert sessions. You will also have access to media releases, publicity materials and usage of the project and mission logos.

All ASDC members may apply. The deadline is Tuesday March 10th.

All applications should be sent to

Potential for Level 2 of the National Astronaut Programme

In May 2015, we hope to announce additional funding from the UK Space Agency to extend the activites at Science Centres across the UK. This would be Level 2 of theNational Astronaut Programme, and would be larger than the current (Level 1) programme.

This funding is not yet fully confirmed. If it were secured we would invite the same 15 science centres, and some additional science centres to participate in a wider National Programme running a host of Astronaut schools workshops as well as a programme working with under-represented audiences from around Tim's Launch in November 2015 until March 2017.

The 15 science centres selected now will have the first option for Level 2. The next best 5 - 10 applicants now will be considered for the full Level 2 Programme to run the familes, schools and community programmes. Please note, all details in the following pages relate to Level 1 only, unless specified.

Information on The National Astronaut Programme


Tim Peake is the first British member of the European Space Agency's astronaut corps going to the International Space Station. This presents a unique and powerful opportunity to engage the entire nation with the amazing stories of human space flight, including the innovative science and engineering and the team work and training that go into a mission. It gives us the opportunity to involve families, parents, schoolchildren, teachers and wider society across the UK with inspirational science in a high-profile national manner. ASDC has secured funding from the UK Space Agency to run the National Astronaut Programme and we are now inviting 15 science centres to participate in this unique programme.

The Programme Vision and Mission

The Vision: To engage, inspire and involve UK families with school-age children with the amazing stories, science and innovative ideas of human spaceflight and the achievements of Tim Peake, the European Space Agency's first British Astronaut.

The Mission: To deliver an inspirational and hugely exciting national hands-on programme of space activities and experiments for children and families across the UK, in partnership with the successful infrastructure of the UK’s science and discovery centres and science museums.

Leveraging the ASDC national network

Every year in the UK, 20 million people of all ages and backgrounds choose to engage with science at one of the UK’s science and discovery centres or science museums. This equates to 385,000 people every week who come to our science centres and science museums to explore and discuss science in an involving and personal way.

This programme leverages that national infrastructure, expertise and investment. We know that science and discovery centres and science museums are already embedded in the heart of their communities in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They all have long-term relationships with communities, schools and families as well as local institutions such as universities, industry and the media and are excellent hubs offering families unusual and exciting opportunities to discover, discuss, question, test and explore science and the latest adventures in space science.

Through this programme, we invite applications from ASDC member science centres and science museums to engage families across the UK with astronaut shows, special events, star parties and potentially a Guinness world record attempt. This will be backed up by national media, news, social media and print media which we hope will ensure everyone in the UK is aware and feels a sense pride and curiosity that we have an astronaut in space.

Outputs of the National Astronaut Programme: Level 1

This project will deliver the following:

  1. An exceptional and highly adaptable family show targeted at families for use by science centres and museums across the UK.

  2. A set of hands-on resources and equipment for each centre

  3. A short workshop for brownies and guides to encourage girls to get more involved with space, physics and engineering

  4. A national training academy to train science centre staff from 15 science centres and museums across the UK to enable them to find out about the mission, run the entire programme and to maximise press opportunities

  5. A meet-the-expert session format for family audiences with introductions to guest space scientists

  6. A press and marketing pack, with images, sample press releases, approved copy for web and flyers, and schedule of key press dates and links to the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency.

  7. Potential to link with planetarium shows at some science centres

  8. Reaching 100,000 people in families across the UK (Approximately 7,000 people per participating science centre)

The Programme Goals

In addition to the outputs (deliverables) listed above, the 6 key goals for this national programme, in order of importance, are as follows.

  1. To inspire in children and their families nationally, a new sense of curiosity, questioning and adventure in relation to space, our planet and human space flight.

  2. To inspire children and their families to explore, test, experiment and discuss the amazing range of science and engineering needed for successful human space flight.

  3. To inspire both schoolgirls and schoolboys to consider careers in the space sector and in science and engineering more widely. All the evidence points to young girls especially feeling ‘it's not for me’ and we would like to counter this.

  4. To build family science capital, given we know 67% of young people feel they get most careers advice from family, and that family science capital is the biggest predictor of whether students will study science (and 80% of a schoolchild's waking time is spent out of school).

  5. To increase the public engagement opportunities of UK space scientists and engineers (especially women) and enable the public to meet them in informal settings.

  6. To train science engagement professionals embedded in ASDC member organisations across the UK to engage the public with the latest in space science, planetary observation and human space flight so they can continue to engage their 20 million visitors into the future.

The Key Audiences

The key audiences for this national programme are:

  1. Young people aged 7-15 (focussing on ages 7-10 in the family shows) enjoying learning about space, astronauts, Tim Peake’s training, engineering and the physical sciences in informal contexts.

  2. Parents and families of these young people so they are equally inspired and can continue to inspire and encourage their children long into the future.

  3. Science centre and museum staff to build relationships with the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, other science centres celebrating space and those involved in UK space science and engineering sectors.

The Core Project team

Within the UK's science Centres and Museums there is considerable expertise in engaging families and schools with Space Science and human spaceflight. Indeed most science centres and museums already run space workshops and many have exhibitions on the subject and operate a planetarium and we fully acknowledge this expertise.

ASDC will direct and manage this national programme, and create the flexible family show, media and other resources and activities with a project team drawn from the teams at:

  • The National Space Centre in Leicester

  • The Science Museum in London

  • Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Cheshire

Please note, these three organisations who are helping to develop the content and resources will be automatically selected as 3 of the 15 centres partnering with us to run the National Astronaut Programme with the public at their own centres.

What is on offer for participating science centres and museums

The programme will offer the 15 selected centres the following:

  1. An exceptional and highly adaptable family Astronaut Show targeted at 7-15 year olds and their families for use by science centres and museums across the UK. Within this age group the key focus will be on engaging 7-10 year olds.

  1. Up to £2300* of bespoke equipment for each science centre to enable delivery of the family show and other major events and hands on activities.

  1. A £3,000* grant to assist with your delivery each science centre. This you may spend on whatever you need to assist in delivering special Astronaut events and the family shows, including staff time.

  1. A short workshop for brownies and guides to encourage girls to get more involved with space, physics and engineering, and assistance with marketing.

  1. A meet-the-expert session format for family audiences with introductions to guest space scientists and companies

  1. Two funded places for your staff at The ASDC National Astronaut Training Academy at the National Space Centre to bring them as close to the mission as possible, and to train them to run the entire programme and to maximise press opportunities. Their travel, food and accommodation will be paid for by ASDC.

  1. Training resources including a project handbook and online support to help you with your delivery and to train all your front of house and delivery staff back at your centre

  1. Usage of the national project logo, the Principia mission patch, and easy access to images and videos as they become available from Our Astronaut in Space on the International Space Station and alerts from ASDC to find the best images.

  1. A press and marketing pack, with sample press releases, approved copy for web and flyers, marketing images of family events in advance and schedule of key events and mission dates.

  1. Standardised forms for your evaluation and an easy online submission mechanism

* All amounts are Inclusive of VAT

Commitments of the 15 selected Science Centres and Museums

The 15 selected science centres and science museums will need to commit to the following:

  1. To reach 7,000 - 10,000 members of the public (family audiences) in a high quality, engaging manner between October 2015 and March 2016.

  2. To run the Astronaut Show for families at your science centre in weekends and holidays, and celebrate the opportunities at special events, festivals, evening events, sleepovers and outreach as you so choose. The show will be modular and flexible.

  3. To ensure two members of staff participate fully in the two-day training academy in June 2015 where they will learn about all the details of the mission, climb inside a replica of part of the International Space Station (the Columbus module) and see an astronaut space suit and learn how to run the family show and use the equipment. These two members of staff will then have responsibility to train all staff at their centre and remain as the point of contact for the programme.

  4. To maintain flexibility to allow your centre to take advantage of and get involved with high profile opportunities and fun press worthy events that the BBC, UK Space Agency or we as a project have created, and to come up with ideas and suggest these to the project .

  5. To run a high profile event around the launch (November 20 2015) to the widest audience and celebrate this in the press. Given the expected timing of the launch (currently given as 9pm on a Friday evening) we recommend you hold a Sleepover event at your science centre, in concert with sleepovers happening at science centres across the UK. Please note, a level of adaptability is needed throughout this programme, as this is space travel - Timings can change. Likewise, skies in the UK are frequently cloudy and cannot be relied upon to view the ISS passing overhead. Clearly this makes event planning difficult, however many members have experience working with the constraints and can advise.

  6. To maximise all the press, PR and social media opportunities at your disposal to fully raise public awareness within your local region to maximise the number of children and adults who can engage with the knowledge that the UK has an Astronaut in Space.

  7. To ensure that the show and all Astronaut activities are delivered in accordance with the project Goals, for example ensuring gender equity and celebrating STEM careers, and delivering to the key audiences as outlined above.

  8. To have a quality control and training system in place that maintains and highlights the integrity and accuracy of the space science and space stories your staff are sharing with the public. This must include regular (monthly) review of your staff running the show by your staff who were at the Training Academy. Regular Astronaut Updates will also be sent to those who attended the training academies to pass through their organisations.

  9. To share information with the project manager for the purposes of reporting and evaluation in a timely manner. To take part in monthly 'Astronaut Ideas and Opportunities' conference calls to share the latest information and high profile events we are all running.

  10. To market the family shows in accordance with the guidelines using the partner logos (including those of the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and ASDC), and project brand exactly in accordance with our guidelines.

When to Delivery Activities

Delivery must be between October 4 2015 and completed by March 1 2016


June 17 -18

Astronaut Training Academy at the National Space Centre

For 2 members of staff from each centre

October 4 - 10

World Space Week

Delivery can begin from any time after this

Mid October

October Half Term

We expect most centres will want to start delivery here

November 20

Huge Celebrations for Tim launching into space

Sleepovers to watch the launch and see Tim LIVE arriving at the International Space Station


Winter 2016

Tim in space on the International Space Station (ISS). Experiments and footage underway.

Footage from the ISS, facebook and twitter from Tim Peake.

March 1 2016

Completion of Level 1 of the programme. Submission of all your reports and evaluation results.

7-10 ,000 people reached by each Science Centre (we expect it to be substantially more)

May 2016

Tim comes back to earth

Notes about delivery and dates

  • Science Centres will be trained and have all the resources to begin delivery on October 4. This is the start of World Space Week. You are free to choose your start date, but it must be at the November 20 launch at the latest

  • Delivery of the final number of participants (7-10,000 per centre) must be completed by March 1st 2016, with all reports and evaluation data submitted to ASDC. Clearly this is whilst he is still in Space, and we hope all centres will continue activities after this date, however, this reporting date remains as the Level 1 funding and Project completes on March 31 2016. We have applied for Level 2 funding to cover 2015-17 and the outcome of this will be announced in May 2015.

  • We have to be clear, that since astronaut safety is the prime factor, that Mission times and launch schedule could possibly change. We have been advised this is unlikely on Soyuz rocket launches but we want all partners to be aware of this small possibility. In this event we would work with all partners to help re-schedule dates and events. Also to note, that in the very rare event an astronaut is taken ill before launch, the whole crew of 3, who have trained together, is swapped out. All astronauts are quarantined before their missions to minimise this. However If an astronaut was ill in the May 2015 launch, Tim would be swapped in at a short notice. This is very unlikely and whilst we will have a plan in place for this, our plans are fully focussed on a 20 November launch.

Numbers of participants you commit to engage

Overall the programme will engage 100,000 people across the 15 areas of the UK during the delivery window (4 October 2015 to 1 March 2016).

Selected science centre partners will need to engage a minimum of 7,000 people per centre (small science centres) and engaging 10,000 will be looked on favourably.

How might you reach these people

Family Astronaut Shows

Run the Astronaut show for families at weekends for the two half terms whilst Tim is in Space and weekends, eg:

  • 35 people per show, 3 times each day on Saturday and Sunday, x 13 weeks = 2,730 people

  • Plus at half terms 40 people per event, 4 times a day x 18 days = 2,880 people

  • Totalling 5,610

The Launch Event

Many Science Centres have indicated they want to run a giant sleep over for the launch on November 20th, seeing it as a Great British Blast Off. We have been advised that all the times and dates given here are very likely, but of course could possibly change, as this is launching a rocket into space.

The launch is set for a Friday night at approximately 9pm and we expect your public will be able to watch the launch on a feed from the European Space Agency from the launch site in Kazakhstan. Live feeds into your event spaces for evening receptions and those not sleeping over will also be possible.
At approximately 4am the following morning, Tim will reach the International Space Centre and the docking process will take two hours. At around 6am sleepover participants will be able to watch Live on a special video feed (eg into your planetarium) as he opens the hatch to the International Space Station and climbs on board. If lots of people want to take part, we could brand this as 'the Great British Sleep Over' having science centres as the Press hubs across the UK. All the ideas are all still to play for and can be developed together by the 15 partners.
Meet the expert events

As part of an ‘Astronaut' special season, you could invite scientists from your local university, or ask researchers and engineers to meet your visitors using the project’s amazing equipment as a talking point. If two scientists are talking to visitors on a busy floor from 10am-4pm, and each talks to a family of 4 for ten minutes, whilst another 4 people look on and listens, they will engage 96 people per hour. Across 6 hours they will have interacted with 576 people. Running 4 days of events will reach 2,304 people.

Festivals, special events, Astronaut days, community groups, family events, cinemas, theatres, school Christmas shows, local radio

Think broadly when deciding what activities you want to run for families. We want to engage everyone not only those visiting science centres. Inviting experts to join you at festivals and other public events would be great (please note we expect numbers from festivals etc, to be a best estimate of actual people engaged with, and not the total entry numbers to these large events).

Brownies and Guides Events. Cubs and Scouts events

Hold a brownies and guides Astronaut Jamboree and a special Space badge day or sleepover. We can work with the Girl Guides Association to see what is possible as it's a great way to get girls interested in STEM. You could offer to take the activities to Guide and Brownie meetings and have other events for scouts and cubs who have a vast range of related badges, including the UK Space Agency-sponsored Astronautics badge for Scouts.

Examples of other ways you could reach large audiences are through:

  • Community partnerships

  • Regional and national STEM fairs during National Science Week (March)

  • Science festivals (Many are in March - if so let us know )

  • Special Astronaut days - dress up as an astronaut for free entry

  • Free entry to anyone with a space related surname (star, planet, Jupiter, Saturn etc) or free entry to all children named Tim

  • Family-friendly community festivals

Please note: Whilst the project officially launches in October 2015, and this is when centres will have all the final resources and equipment will are happy for centres to begin astronaut related activities at any point in advance of this. you will need to first speak with ASDC to ensure you are aware of any embargoes and press announcement for the national programme.

Reporting, Data and Evaluation

In return for the training and support that this project offers we ask that you provide some information as part of reporting, detailed below.

We will collect data at the end of the project on:

  • The numbers of people at the family events and the types of activities you are delivering

  • A sample showing the male / female split

We will also be collecting evaluation data. This will be based on simple quantitative survey that will be provided to you. We will cover evaluation in the training academy.

To check the reporting commitments you can see an example report template here:

These will be collected on 1 March 2016 via email with a interim collection at the start of the year.

The Grant

The grant may be used to contribute to staff time, marketing, scientist involvement or other costs at your organisation's discretion. You may use the grant to bring more diverse family audiences into your centre (eg a golden ticket scheme), and this will be looked upon favourably.

In your application please specify how you will use the grant, as well as detailing your organisation's in-kind contributions in the table provided.

The Application and Selection Process

The 15 participating organisations will be selected through a competitive tender process.

ASDC are reserving three spaces for the three project partners (National Space Centre, Science Museum and Jodrell Bank) who will also submit an application.

Organisations wishing to apply must fill in the application form saying what they will do

The deadline for applications is 11pm on Tuesday 10 March 2015.

Selection panel

The participating organisations will be selected by a selection panel, made up of the following people:

  • Project Director, Dr Penny Fidler

  • Project Manager, James Summers

  • UK Space Agency Head of Education and Skills, Jeremy Curtis

  • UK Space Agency Astronaut Education Programme Manager, Libby Jackson


This grant is only open to all CURRENT members of The UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres. You will be asked to ensure we have received your membership for all years this grant is active.

If you have any questions about your membership please telephone the project manager.

Selection criteria

Priority will be given to Science Centres and Museums that:

  1. Demonstrate a strong track record in delivering high quality science engagement activities to families

  2. Have the ability and desire to reach large numbers of children and adults and a wide range of audiences, especially girls and under-represented groups

  3. Show in their application the desire to run a host of the types of events listed above, as well as creative and clever ideas for launch events, high-profile events, events for other audiences and great activities to engage as many people as possible.

  4. Demonstrate a passion for space science, space technology, astronauts and related topics, and for getting experts involved.

  5. Demonstrate you will embed the astronaut activities into your public programme, and continue to run astronaut activities into the future

  6. You will collect data on the number of participants involved in activities and routinely collect both formative and summative evaluation data to assure quality

  7. Have a marketing professional (or equivalent) in place to maximise reach and profile

  8. Have the desire to use social media as an integral part of the programme

  9. Can be flexible and adaptable as the information about Tim Peake's mission becomes available

  10. Show that you are addressing the goals, key audiences and the vision and mission of this programme

Geographical considerations

Quality, creativity and reach will be the biggest factors, however, in the case of all other aspects being equal, the geographical spread of the 15 partners across the UK will be taken into consideration. We expect to have at least one partner in each of the four nations.

Key Dates

Bidders’ conference call

March 2, 3pm

Deadline for Applications

10 March 11pm

Selection Panel Meets

16 March 2015

Notification of success

20 March 2015

Grant payment

30 March 2015

Science Centres Training Academy

at the National Space Centre in Leicester

17-18 June 2015

Delivery of equipment to centres

August - October 2015

Delivery window (for the purpose of reporting)

1 October 2015 - 1 March 2016

Tim Peake Launches into Space

Friday 20 November 2015 at potentially 9pm (GMT)

Final submission of your evaluation and report to ASDC

1 March 2016

Tim Peake returns to Earth

20 May 2016

How to apply

To apply, please fill in the application form that is available on the ASDC website. Re-save your application form in the following format: ‘National Astronaut Programme application – name of your centre’.

Please email your application form to:

James Summers,

ASDC Special Project Manager

Deadline for Applications: 11pm 10 March 2015
Please cc your application to

Ensure you get an email response saying your application has been received and call us if you do not.

Any questions please feel free to phone

James Summers, Special Projects Manager

0117 915 0184


The Bidders' Conference Call

ASDC will host a conference call at 3pm on 2 March 2015 to answer any questions from all potential bidders in an open manner. Please register on the ASDC website, and book through Eventbrite.

The UK Space Agency will also be speaking at the Education Meeting on February 25 in Manchester.

Note on Open Access and Intellectual Property

ASDC strives to ensure open access to all our project resources so that the field can share and benefit as a whole. All the project’s resources will therefore licensed under creative commons (Attribution-Share Alike). To help science centres and scientists to continue to innovate together, and to find ever more brilliant ways to engage school students and the public, we ask that all participating centres follow this spirit of collaboration and share any new activities that evolve from the project under creative commons (attribution to their science centre and this programme).

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