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To infinity and beyond

Thursday 09 June 2016

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Sixty-one Fife primary school pupils graduated from ‘Space School’ at the University of St Andrews this week (Wednesday 8 June).

From launching rockets and building space suits to learning about space debris, the Space School pupils spent three days taking part in science and technology activities with NASA astronaut Rick Hieb and NASA space scientist Dr Sue Lederer (pictured below).

The young scientists had previously participated in a series of Saturday workshops throughout spring, learning about astronomy, asteroids, robotics and rockets, before attending Space School this week.

Rick, an astronaut who has spent over 750 hours in space, and Sue, a space scientist who explores collisions between asteroids and comets orbiting the Earth, shared their experiences of space adventure with the participants. They told tales of life on the International Space Station and described the exciting scientific discoveries they had made, as well as taking part in hands-on scientific challenges and activity sessions.

At the Space School graduation ceremony, Rick and Sue told the children how they had each grown up in small towns in America with dreams of pursuing science and space, and encouraged them also to think big when it came to their future. 

nasa-space-school-mainbody-2Space School is led by the University’s Access Team, each year bringing together around 60 Primary 6 pupils from schools across Fife to engage them in the wonders of science and technology, as part of the University’s efforts to promote the idea of higher education to children and young people. Pupils were supported in their activity sessions by University of St Andrews student ambassadors, many of whom had attended access summer schools at the University when they themselves were younger.

Alongside Space School this week, Rick and Sue, together with University representatives, also visited Benarty Primary School in Lochgelly, Carleton Primary School and Pitcoudie Primary School in Glenrothes, East Wemyss Primary School, and Touch Primary School in Dunfermline to talk about science, technology and outer space with school pupils.

The young graduates will continue their ‘space schooling’, attending further activity and exploration days at the University of St Andrews when they are older. A group of 1st year secondary pupils are returning to Space School this week to spend time learning with the team from NASA. 


Notes to editor

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.