Physics student ‘over the moon’ at flying visit to space centre where Tim Peake trained

Queen Mary's university physics student Kieran Hashmi [inset] who flies to Star City

Queen Mary's university physics student Kieran Hashmi [inset] who flies to Star City - Credit: QMUL

A Physics student at east London’s Queen Mary University has won a place at a cosmonaut training centre to mark British astronaut Tim Peake’s momentous visit to the International Space Station.

Third-year student Kieran Hashmi was selected to receive a week’s cosmonaut training at Star City, Russia’s famous cosmonaut training centre near Moscow, for his video submitted in a competition.

“I’m over the Moon about training in Star City,” he said. “I will be using the same equipment as the NASA astronauts training in the facility. It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Tim Peake trained at the same facility where the first human to go into space in 1961, Yuri Gagarin, also got up to speed.

Kieran’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which has been sponsored jointly by South East Physics Network and the University of Kent, means he and another winner, a physics student from Kent, can develop their team-building and communication skills using the same equipment as the real astronauts.

Students from the South East Physics Network universities such as Queen Mary’s were asked to submit two-minute videos describing an investigation they would like to send into space.

A panel of six judges selected the winners based on the feasibility of the experiment, the explanation of the physics involved and the presentation of the work.

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Kieran’s video, How Microgravity Affects the Thermal Conductivity of a Ferro-fluid, discusses the physics of ferro-fluids, liquids containing microscopic magnets, and their ability to conduct heat in conditions where gravity seems to be very small.

It proposes the application of its results to the fields of Physics and Engineering.

Judges said they were impressed by the quality of the applications and the students’ creative use of visuals and good scientific knowledge.

The two winners are set to fly to Russia in late March to embark on their one-week adventure.

Tim Peake is the first British astronaut with the European Space Agency to walk in Space and the sixth born in the UK to visit the space station.