Defying Gravity: the physics of spaceflight Humans have always been fascinated by space, but how far have we gone in our exploration of the solar system and how have we achieved it? We have been space explorers for just over half a century and in this time developments in technology have allowed us to travel and explore, either by going ourselves or by sending spacecraft to explore on our behalf. The knowledge gained from this exploration has benefitted us in many ways. This exploration continues today with research bases such as the International Space Station (ISS). Tim Peake is Britain’s first astronaut to visit the ISS and will be there from December 2015 to May 2016. This interactive session covers: • the physics of spaceflight - including how rockets work, how to get into orbit; • its history – how did we get to where we are today? • current research - what will Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS help us learn? • its future potential - particularly focusing on Mars and what is required to get there. Laura has always been fascinated by space and is looking forward to getting there herself one day. Since graduating with a degree in Astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh in 2005, she has worked in science communication. In 2013 she toured the UK as the IOP Schools and Colleges’ lecturer talking to 14-16 year olds about the physics of spaceflight. Laura is an ESERO (European Space Education Resource Office) space ambassador and through this promotes the use of space as a context for learning. Laura works with lots of different organisations to promote science, technology, engineering and maths by developing resources and activities and providing support for teachers.