Principia is the name given to ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month mission on the International Space Station to maintain the weightless research laboratory and run scientific experiments for hundreds of researchers on Earth.
Tim will leave our planet on 15 December 2015 from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz rocket with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and commander-cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko.
A former army helicopter pilot, Tim will travel in the right-hand seat of the capsule. The crew will arrive at the Space Station with six other astronauts waiting for them. They will share the Station briefly with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russia’s Mikhail Kornienko, who will be finishing the last part of their 11-month stay in space.
Science is an important part of the mission. Tim will conduct a wide range of experiments on the Station, an out-of-this world research outpost that serves as a stepping stone for human exploration.
During Principia, he will perform more than 30 scientific experiments for ESA, and take part in a dozen research activities for the other Station partners.
Principia is the eighth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut and was named after Isaac Newton’s ground-breaking text on physics, Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing the principal laws of motion and gravity physics. Tim is passionate about quantum physics and cosmology.
Education and inspiring youngsters is another core element of Principia. Tim is determined to make Principia an exciting adventure for the younger generation. As an ambassador for science- and space-based careers, he has an intensive programme to inspire children during his stay in space.
School activities running alongside Tim’s mission have some element of science or technology in it, from computer coding, growing plants and maths demonstrations to fitness and nutrition.