UKSEDS 25th Anniversary and National Student Space Conference

Thanks to the UKSEDS team and all the stands at the conference who were so kind in allowing me utilise part of their stand to promote myself!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I packed my bags on Friday afternoon ready for a weekend of Public Relations work. However, because this was a Student conference, my main aims were to get people to see me, understand why I exist, gain support and interest but also; to learn about the UK Space Industry and all the exciting projects that the UK businesses are working on at the moment and where they are headed for the future.

What was abundant, at this conference, was enthusiasm. Everyone within the industry can see the benefit of having a UK Space Mascot to tell young children what is happening and to get very young children excited about the prospects of space. The ideas for my missions, from the conference-goers, were many and varied but the general consensus for my future is definitely INSPIRING THE VERY YOUNG TO BECOME FUTURE SPACE EXPLORERS, ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS.

Focussing on the future whilst highlighting the amazing achievements of the past links in very nicely with the 80th Anniversary of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) later this year. I was lucky enough to hear the fascinating talk from Alistair Scott, President of the BIS, which highlighted (for me) the ideas and concept designs that past members produced, as well as the realisation of these designs into a physical, working (or in-development) product.
I hadn’t realised how pro-active the UK had been in early concept designs for Space Exploration! I found it very inspiring! I think the children would love to know about this but the information needs to be put into a format that the kids will engage with and enjoy learning from.
So, Vix Southgate (my guardian) is writing ‘From Imagination to Reality- 80 yrs of the British Interplanetary Society’ (tentative title) – aimed at children – which will incorporate myself as the narrator.

As well as the idea to incorporate me into childrens books about the space industry I need to get out into schools. To help me with this, I have two young helpers aged 7 and 9 (recruited today at the conference) and between them, their school and Vix Southgate, they will work on raising my profile and funds for my future work, so I can afford to travel around the country and meet the children in person.
Vix Southgate is also working on a series of children’s iBooks to explain what all the UK space companies and organisations are working on.

I want to be a part of everything to do with Space in the UK and encourage children to think about it as a career choice or just as a hobby. As Nick Howes (from Faulkes Telescope) said in his talk about finding Comets:


“Amateur Astronomers make a huge and valuable contribution to science”




…So… you don’t have to have a qualification in space science to be able to be a part of the industry, but an interest and passion is essential!

I do not have a scientific grounding, but I have a great love of learning about the possibilities and advancements of Space exploration, and through my work I am meeting the most knowledgeable, fascinating and best people in the WORLD who are all willing to help me to inspire the future Space explorers.

Who knows; perhaps the first person on Mars will have been inspired by me! :.D








SpaceMascotUK – The Cosmic Hedgehog is named!

SpaceMascotUK – The Cosmic Hedgehog now has a name!

CASSiE      – The Cosmic Hedgehog

(Cosmic Ambassador for Space Science and Engineering)

“I am happy I am female, this means I am a more effective ambassador for inspiring Girls into Science!”  – CASSiE

“There are a couple of already famous names which helped us choose CASSiE, they are: CASSiopeia and CASSini. I have also found a couple of Space Science Research groups in the US called CASS. I hope we can help them promote their work too!

CASSiE focuses on the UK’s involvement, but she is all about Space Science and Engineering, which is an international endeavour!”   – Vix Southgate

In other news:

I now have a family of hogs that will be taking up some of my tasks with other out-reach programmes – and they all need names too!

Please send in your ideas for names!

If there is too much choice for us to agree on a name, we will pick 3 for you to then Vote for your favourite.

We will put out a call to NAME THE HEDGEHOG as each gets assigned to it’s new role.



To work with Jon London at Out of this World Learning.

Out of this World Learning specialises in bringing rocketry and space into classrooms across the UK.

They use pupil’s excitement in space exploration to teach a wide variety of topics, from forces to the Ancient Greeks to WWII to fair test and everything in-between!

Age range, Reception-Adult, please see our website for details (their website is currently being updated so please contact for more details)
Location: the whole of the UK, additional travel expenses may apply for schools in Scotland.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Please send your name ideas for the Rocket Hedgehog to:

Thanx for your continued support! :.D


Major Tim Peake – British ESA Astronaut

Wow! what a great couple of days!

I spent Wednesday evening in the wonderful Firth Hall at Sheffield University with Major Tim Peake.

But, Who is Major Tim Peake?

*please note, the following information is a slightly adapted version of the information from the ESA website’s astronaut biographies page.

Tim Peake is a European Space Agency Astronaut, born in Chichester on 7 April 1972. Married with two sons. He enjoys skiing, scuba diving and cross country running among his leisure activities. He also enjoys reading.

In 1992, Tim graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an officer in the British Army Air Corps. In 2005, he graduated from the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) in Boscombe Down, where he was awarded the Westland Trophy, and received a Bachelor of Science in flight dynamics and evaluation from the University of Portsmouth in 2006.

Tim qualified as a helicopter flying instructor in 1998 just before being selected for an exchange posting with the US Army, flying Apache helicopters at Fort Hood, Texas (1999-2002). On his return to the UK, he was employed as an Apache helicopter instructor from 2002 to 2005, during which time he was instrumental in introducing the Apache into service with the British Army.

How did Tim Peake become an Astronaut?

Tim was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009. He joined ESA in September of that year and successfully completed his Astronaut Basic Training in November 2010.

Over the past few days I have heard Tim talk about his experiences as an ESA astronaut and especially his 12 days in an underwater base almost 20 m below the sea for NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).  NEEMO allows space agencies to test technologies and research international crew behaviour for long-duration missions – like going to Mars!

So what have I got out of these few days?

There is far more to being an astronaut than I imagined, but I learned that anyone can become one! Scientists, army personnel, chemists, even school teachers can become astronauts! The key is to have had experience or a career with skills that can be used in space and be willing to learn new skills.

I’m inspired to be the first Hedgehog in space! 🙂

Let’s go!

Tim Peake article from BBC Wiltshire.

Major Tim Peake says he is not too old to go into space

Major Timothy Peake
The 40-year-old astronaut says there is still plenty of time for him to be assigned a space mission

The UK’s first official astronaut in training says he is not too old – at the age of 40 – to go into space.

Major Tim Peake, from Salisbury, was accepted into the European Space Agency (Esa) in 2009 at the age of 37.

Since then he has undergone astronaut basic training, practised spacewalking, experienced zero gravity flights and spent 12 days in an underwater lab.

Now he says he is looking forward “to that day when hopefully I’ll get launched into space”.

Major Peake, a former helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps, is the first Briton to be appointed by the European Space Agency (Esa) Astronaut Corps.

One of six new recruits, chosen from more than 8,400 candidates, he will also be the “UK’s first official astronaut in space” when he finally gets into orbit.

But since his selection in 2009, his astronaut training – including learning Russian so he can work on the space station – has kept him on the ground.

“No, it doesn’t get frustrating at all – there’s just so much going on, so much diversity and there’s brilliant training all along the way,” he said.

‘Plenty of time’

“And I’ve got quite a bit of time actually.

“The average age of an astronaut is quite high, it’s up in the high 40s if not low 50s, because you have to attain so much experience before being selected and then the training takes so long.

“And I’ve got a career until I’m 63. So there’s still plenty of time, I hope, to get my mission in and maybe even more than one mission.”

Tim Peake and Gail Iles Major Tim Peake and Dr Gail Iles floating upside down on a zero-g flight

In 2010, Major Peake – who is married with two sons – and the new intake of astronauts graduated from basic training.

They are the first group of candidates Esa has put through a training programme of its own design at its centre in Cologne, Germany.

It was a programme that included engineering familiarisation, medical, survival and robotics training as well as microgravity or “zero-g” flights and sessions in a giant pool practicing spacewalking.

‘Dream come true’

Now Major Peake, as he waits to be assigned a space mission, is in an ongoing programme of spacesuit training, zero-g flights to “practice weightlessness” and 12-day stints 20m (65ft) under water to research “crew behaviour for long-duration missions”.

“I’ve yet to have a day where I’m bored in this job,” he said.

“It’s a very diverse training programme, from learning about the Soyuz spacecraft – because that’s going to be the vehicle that gets us into space – to learning about the space station and how to maintain it.

“As well as more unusual things like survival training, in case we land in the wrong location, living in a cave, living underwater and practicing those psychological elements to long duration space flights.”

Following the retirement of the US space shuttle in 2011, the only way to transfer astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) is aboard the three-seat Russian Soyuz vehicle.

But as a partner on the ISS programme, and following an agreement to extend space station operations until 2020, Europe has the right to claim a long-duration ISS residency of six months roughly every two years.

“We’re quite fortunate in the European Space Agency we’ve got a good track record of assigning our astronauts,” he said.

“Of my class of six in 2009 three have already been assigned and we have three spare missions waiting to be assigned between now and 2020.

“It’s just a matter of keeping fit and waiting for your opportunity to be assigned to a flight – which will be the ultimate dream come true.”

Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space in 1991, but she had to raise the money needed to fly on a Russian spacecraft herself.

Three other astronauts who’ve flown into space were born in Britain but made the journey as American residents.

Be creative and WIN prizes!


SpaceMascotUK – The Cosmic Hedgehog would like to hear from children everywhere!

Write stories, draw pictures, make up your own cartoons – or anything else you can think of, and send them to:

The Cosmic Hedgehog will choose the best EVERY MONTH to be included in this blog, tweeted ( and put on the Facebook page (

PRIZES for all entries chosen – so remember to include your contact details!!


Whatever you send in MUST be about Space and include The Cosmic Hedgehog.

That’s it!

Get scribbling! :.D