The Rotary Club of Locks Heath has helped fly the flag for Rotary recently in a place that truly is out of this world.
Penny Scarbro, a member of the club is also Godmother to European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake, who is currently undertaking a mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).
Given this connection, the idea of sending the banner to space was that of another of the club’s members, John Hopwood. Tim kindly agreed to pack it inside his limited luggage, and even took a picture of the banner, orbiting approximately 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Tim is now part of a six-man crew on board the ISS, who will perform essential maintenance to the station, which has already included Tim taking part in a historic spacewalk, the first by an official British astronaut, as well as conducting a series of experiments which cannot take place on Earth. These experiments will assist in broadening our scientific and technological knowledge so that both life here on Earth, and future manned space travel, can be improved.
Tim’s father Nigel Peake recently visited the club to explain all about the intense training programme his son has undertaken. Spanning several years, Tim’s preparations involved learning to speak Russian, acclimatising to zero-gravity environments to recreate conditions similar to a spacewalk, and even living in an underwater laboratory for 12 days.
The banner had to undergo its own rigorous testing and irradiation process to ensure it was nontoxic, non-flammable and free from chemicals, so it would not pollute the ISS.
When the mission comes to an end in June, the banner will then be returned to the club, with official authentication that it spent time floating around on the ISS and orbiting our planet.
Published: Tuesday 26th January 2016