A small number of British school children, including 15 year‐old Michael Eagling from Trinity School (Croydon), were welcomed to Number 10 Downing Street at a reception honouring the achievement of Tim Peake. The British astronaut met Prime Minister Teresa May on Monday 18 July, then spoke to the group of excited pupils who had taken part in one the many activities set by the UK’s Space Agency.
One of these was the Space to Earth Challenge set by Tim Peake which was to run, swim, cycle or spacehop the 400 km distance from Space to Earth. The fitness challenge focused on helping students appreciate why exercise had been so important to Tim during his 186 day mission on the International Space Station, orbiting round the earth at a speed of 25 times the speed of sound.
Year 10 Trinity student Michael Eagling, who is an experienced triathlete, found out about the challenge via the Triathlon Trust and has covered the entire distance from Space to Earth through his competitions and leisure activities. He said: “I was honoured to be invited to the Downing Street reception and proud to represent the Space to Earth Challenge and my sport of Triathlon at the event.”
The fifteen year old had already met Major Peak last month during a prize visit to the European Astronaut Centre (ESA) in Cologne on July 4th 2016, as the astronaut undertook his post‐flight rehabilitation. The Trinity pupil along with fellow Space to Earth participants were able to observe one of his physiotherapy sessions and hear from Tim and his space medicine team about how his body had changed during flight and how he was working to regain full fitness and in particular his sense of balance.
Michael shared his Space to Earth challenge on twitter and, at training and events, encouraged others to take up the challenge. He also ran in the London Mini Marathon at the same time as Tim Peake was running his marathon in space and supported Team Astronaut who were running the London Marathon on earth in astronaut suits alongside Tim Peake.
The Space to Earth Challenge team supplied Michael with a life sized cut‐out of Tim Peake, known as Flat Tim, to help support him in his challenge. Once he had completed his 400km, Michael donated Flat Tim to the Trinity School Junior Science department who gave the cut‐out astronaut an enthusiastic reception.
Photo: Michael Eagling (back, second left) and other British pupils at Number 10 with PM Teresa May and Tim Peake