Space Stations

UK students invited to design a meal fit for an astronaut

By Keith Cowing
May 2, 2014
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UK students invited to design a meal fit for an astronaut
Tim Peake

The UK Space Agency has launched an exciting competition for school children between the ages of 7 and 14 to design a British-inspired, balanced and exciting meal for British ESA astronaut Tim Peake to eat during his 6 month mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
The winning contestants will be invited to develop their ideas further with renown chef British chef Heston Blumenthal, and these ideas will be turned into real space food that will be launched to the ISS. They will also be invited to an event that will include a live link up with Tim during his stay on the ISS.

Tim Peake is looking forward to the competition “This is a great opportunity to get people thinking about nutrition and healthy eating. I’m really excited that I’ll be able to eat a ‘Great British Space Dinner’ on-board the space station and for me it will be a very special link back to planet Earth!”

Healthy eating and drinking is crucial for an astronaut’s health in the extreme environment of space. Tim Peake: “In the artificial environment of ISS, food is one of the most important ways we can link back to life on Earth.”

“I think that by blending the creativity from the competition and Heston’s expertise we can produce something that is not just fun, healthy and tasty but also food that will be really important for the future of space travel.”

Blumenthal welcomes the challenge ahead, “I’m unbelievably excited to be designing a delicious meal for Tim to enjoy in space; there are some real challenges ahead, things aren’t quite the same up there! I’m really looking forward to seeing some incredible suggestions by the kids, and getting started on creating something that Tim will love up there in space.”

A team of judges, including Tim Peake, Heston Blumenthal and experts from the British Nutritional Foundation, will select the best entries from both the primary and secondary school age categories. They are looking for fun and healthy menus, have an element of ‘Britishness’, and have the potential to be transformed into a space dinner that could be flown to the ISS.

Children will need to design a British-inspired nutritional meal for Tim to eat in space, while also taking into consideration the constraints of space (such as handling, packaging and preservation).
The challenge is open to classes, other groups (such as after-school clubs, Scouts, Guides, etc) and individuals. There are two categories, one for primary level children and one for secondary level children, with one winner in each category.

The competition is free to enter and is open to both individuals and teams from schools and group. All entrants must be UK residents.

Entries must be submitted by noon on 30 June 2014 to the UK Space Agency via or by post. The entry form and competition rules will be available on the UK Space Agency website.  Entries must include an ingredients list, the recipe and a photograph of the meal. Videos may also be used and links should be provided in the written submission.

Educational resources have been developed by the British Nutrition Foundation and are available at

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.