Tim’s mission name was chosen from over 4000 suggestions, and celebrates Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin for “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”). It’s the perfect name for a mission to the Space Station that depends on the principal laws of motion and gravity Newton describes.
‘I am delighted with this name that honours one of Europe’s most famous scientists,’ said Tim, who was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station. ‘I hope it will also encourage people to observe the world as if for the first time – just as Isaac Newton did.’
Tim was launched on a Soyuz from the Russian Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 15 December 2015, along with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko. They joined the crew of six already on board the ISS, and returned to Earth in May 2016.
Tim and his crewmates worked on unique experiments that can’t be done anywhere on Earth, taking in physiology, biology, materials science, solar physics, radiation physics, and technology demonstrations. The aim of the experiments was to improve our understanding of the fundamentals of science and demonstrate new applications for science and technology, helping to enhance the quality of life on Earth or kickstart the next stages of solar system exploration.
The mission was also a chance for Tim to inspire people, especially children, to develop an interest in science and learn more about the fantastic career opportunities it offers.
See the Mission Principia website.