Have you ever wondered what it feels like to sit on top of a Soyuz rocket, waiting to be launched into space? Or how good a bacon sandwich smells, first thing on Saturday morning aboard the International Space Station?

Last night, (Sunday 24th October), Tim Peake, the first British European Space Agency astronaut, began his speaking tour at Newcastle City Hall, where he answered these questions and many more (including the age-old “how do you use the toilet in space?” query).

I was there, with hundreds of other people, astronaut groupies if you will, listening intently to a man who has done what most of us can only dream of – he’s been to space!

The view of the stage from my seat.

Major Tim, (to use his military rank), took his audience on an enlightening journey through his mission from launch to landing, with a few detours via his helicopter and fast jet pilot days to astronaut selection and training along the way.

The whole evening was informative, humorous and thought-provoking – who knew that to prevent yourself falling out of orbit you have to be travelling at 10 times the speed of a bullet? I can only imaging what that feels like!

Newcastle was the first stop on the My Journey to Space tour, but if you are disappointed that you missed out, don’t despair – there are other dates in our region that still have tickets available, including 1st November in Leeds and 2nd November in York  and the next year 11th March in Harrogate and 13th March in Stockton.

You can read more about Major Tim’s life as an astronaut in his book, Ask An Astronaut, or about how he went from a “small ginger boy” to doing a spacewalk in his autobiography, Limitless.  He has also recently published Swarm Rising, a book for younger readers, and possibly one the 7C will be having the pleasure of discovering in the near future!

Well, that’s my half term reading sorted!

Until next time, Happy Half Term Keep Calm and apply some Science!

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