UK Students to Participate in Richard Garriott’s ISS Flight

March 4, 2008

UK students will have a chance to get involved in two out-of-this-world space science experiments when British-born space entrepreneur Richard Garriott arrives at the International Space Station (ISS) this Autumn.

Developed in partnership with the British National Space Centre (BNSC), which co-ordinates civil space activities in the UK, and US company Space Adventures, which provides spaceflight opportunities for private citizens, the educational outreach programme will include challenges for both primary and secondary school students across the UK:

Primary schools students will be invited to design an experiment to be carried out by Mr. Garriott on the International Space Station and reviewed by retired astronaut Dr. Owen Garriott and by leading UK scientists including Dr Samantha Wynne, Cambridge University, and Professor Peter McCowan, Queen Mary, University of London.

Students aged 11-19 will be invited to imagine how space enterprise could develop in the future for space tourism companies including Space Adventures, using facilities such as the International Space Station.

The two challenges were launched to schools on 28 February 2008 at the Education Show by Dr Maggie Aderin, space scientist and television presenter. The deadline for student entries is 20 June 2008.

Mr Garriott is currently undergoing cosmonaut training at Star City in Russia for his forthcoming mission to the ISS.

He said: “I am dedicating my spaceflight to science and enterprise. We need to be adventurous in mind and stimulate our intellects to answer today’s most daunting scientific questions and to invent tomorrow’s technological marvels. We need more than great ideas – we need to make them happen.”

A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch Mr Garriott up to the International Space Station where he will spend between eight and ten days. As part of his mission training at Star City, he will learn spacecraft operation, survival and experimental techniques as well as undergoing medical testing to ensure he is ready for space.

The educational challenges are part of the wider UK Civil Space Strategy 2008-2012 and beyond announced on 14 February 2008 which demonstrates a renewed commitment to use space to inspire future generations.
Jeremy Curtis, from the BNSC UK Space Strategy Group, said:

“We’re delighted by this opportunity for UK students to experience the excitement of real science from the curriculum and to see their experiments carried out by Richard Garriott on his flight to the International Space Station later this year.”

Competition winners will be announced by Dr Piers Sellers, British-born NASA astronaut and spacewalker, on 28 September 2008 at the International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow.

Educational organisations, companies and space enthusiasts can get involved in Mr Garriott’s spaceflight to the International Space Station by visiting his website:

Mr. Garriott, who will be updating his site regularly with photographs and blog entries on his forthcoming spaceflight, added: “I want to involve as many people as possible in my mission.”

About the British National Space Centre

The British National Space Centre (BNSC) is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and exploit space. The BNSC is a partnership of ten Government Departments, Research Councils and the Met Office.

BNSC co-ordinates UK civil space activities to benefit science, enterprise and the environment and represents the UK at the European Space Agency and at other international fora. BNSC: supports academic research; nurtures the UK space industry; and works to increase the understanding of space science and its practical benefits.

The BNSC’s UK Civil Space Strategy announced on 14 February 2008 sets out five objectives. They are to: win an increasing share of the global market in space systems, services and applications in the race to develop tomorrow’s economy; deliver world-leading exploitation of space systems for managing our changing planet; be a partner of choice in global scientific missions to explore the Universe; benefit our society by strengthening innovation from space, and stimulate the creation of new products and services for everyday use; develop a major channel for skills development and outreach for a high technology future, and improve public and political recognition of the value of space systems as part of the critical national infrastructure. For more information, visit:

About Richard Garriott

Richard Garriott, 46, is the British-born son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, who participated in two space missions including the 1973 Skylab 3 mission that orbited the Earth for 59 days and smashed the previous record for human spaceflight duration. The younger Garriott is scheduled to become the sixth paying space tourist and the first offspring of an American astronaut to visit space.

For his forthcoming trip, Garriott paid $30 million to space tourism firm Space Adventures of Vienna, Virginia, USA. He will join his father Owen Garriott as being one of the first 500 humans to leave the planet. He is an exponent of the commercial value of human spaceflight and will be taking with him a series of experiments to help generate commercial benefits and also a general interest in science.

In one experiment his father helped design, protein crystals will be made in the zero-gravity environment. The crystals form perfectly under these conditions, and accurate images of their structures are expected to be of value to pharmaceutical companies.

For more information, visit:

About Space Adventures

Space Adventures has organised the flights of the world’s first private space explorers: Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari and Charles Simonyi. It has its headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, USA, with an office in Moscow.

It offers a variety of programmes such as spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the Moon, zero-gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programmes and reservations on future sub-orbital spacecrafts.

For more information, visit

About the International Astronautical Congress

The IAC will provide an international focus for the global space industry academic researchers and students worldwide. It will present the latest ideas, promote current activities and encourage future ambitions across a diverse range of space-related topics.

For more information visit

About the Make Your Mark Campaign

Make Your Mark is the national campaign to create an enterprise culture in the UK. It aims to inspire young people in their teens and twenties to have ideas and to make them happen. The not-for-profit campaign is backed by a coalition of businesses, charities, education bodies and government.

It was founded by the four leading UK business membership organisations – the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors. Their Director Generals sit on Make Your Mark’s board. The campaign is also supported by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and is endorsed by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

For more information, visit: