Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 15:15

The Eden Project celebrated UK astronaut Tim Peake’s historic lift-off today by screening the event live and sending its own spaceman into orbit above the Biomes.

School pupils, visitors and Eden staff gathered in Eden’s “mission control” – the Mediterranean Biome – and counted down as the Soyuz spacecraft took to the air just after 11am.

As part of an exciting Destination Space-themed day, Eden storyteller Rob Copeland donned an authentic Tim Peake spacesuit and was counted down by pupils from Trythall Community Primary School in New Mill near Penzance before flying over the site on the SkyWire zipline.

Twenty-six Trythall pupils aged between seven and 11 attended the day and enjoyed rocket making and learning about robots as well as a session on the Eden ice rink.

Matt Strevens, head of Trythall CP School, said: “This has been a brilliant learning opportunity for the children. We have been doing space studies at school and to see Tim Peake’s lift off on the big screen and get involved in all the space-themed activities has been great. We are so grateful to the Eden Project for this opportunity.”

Pam Horton of the Eden Project, who helped organise the event, said: “It was an amazing experience to watch Tim Peake launch into space and it was great to see everyone cheering the successful lift off. The young people who came along really got into the spirit and we hope we have helped inspire them to find out more about the fascinating science behind space travel.”

Aspiring astronauts also helped solve technical problems using specially designed robot arms and built and flew their own compressed air rocket to understand the dangers posed by high velocity space junk orbiting the planet.

There was also a Destination Space family-friendly show, presented by Eden’s talented storytellers dressed in space suits.

Tim Peake will live and work on the International Space Station with six other astronauts for six months, carrying out a comprehensive science programme that cannot be completed anywhere on Earth.

The UK Space Agency and ASDC (Association for Science and Discovery Centres) has launched “Destination Space” and Eden, along with 19 of the nation’s top science centres, is celebrating this endeavour through an inspirational hands-on programme of experiments and demonstrations.

Eden has partnered with the UK Space Agency to create and deliver an exceptional National Astronaut Programme that will give children, schools and families across the UK the chance to learn about Tim’s mission and space exploration.

As well as today’s launch activities, Eden will be hosting two space-themed weekends on January 23/24 and 30/31, giving visitors the chance to discover even more about the mission.

The International Space Station is a microgravity laboratory in which an international crew of six members, from America, Russia and Japan, live and work. The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000. In that time, more than 200 people from 15 countries have visited.

Crew members spend about 35 hours each week conducting research in many disciplines to advance scientific knowledge in Earth, space, physical, and biological sciences for the benefit of people living on our home planet.