Frequently Asked Questions

About the Space Diary

What is the Principia Mission Space Diary?

The Principia Mission Space Diary is a resource for primary schools that allows children to make their own book, following the activities of Tim Peake’s 2015-16 Principia Mission to ISS. Written and developed by author Lucy Hawking and publisher Kristen Harrison, and with guidance and contributions from Professor Peter McOwan and other experts, the diary comprises a series of learning scaffolds that get children engaged with STEM subjects, literacy learning and researching scientific information.

The Space Diary comes with a range of support materials for teachers and educators, including teaching notes for each activity, videos and teaching guides. The programme links to the curriculum for Primary Science, Maths, English, British Values, Computing (ICT), Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC), Design and Technology (DT) and includes exclusive coding activities from Code Club and Raspberry Pi, integration with the Zappar augmented reality app and a wealth of online resources. All lesson plans are differentiated for P1-5 (KS1 and KS2) for teachers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and extension activities provide extra challenges for those who need them.

Who is behind the project?

This project is a collaboration between Curved House Kids, who provide the visual learning framework that underpins the Principia Mission Space Diary; author Lucy Hawking, who provides the content and all the necessary mastery in communicating complex science to primary-aged children; and Professor Peter McOwan at Queen Mary University of London, who provides the academic backbone for the STEM subject content. The book is brought to life by the immensely talented illustrator Ben Hawkes and with invaluable input from the team at the UK Space Agency, not least Libby Jackson and Jeremy Curtis. The project is funded by the Principia education grant scheme run by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency, and our videos are made with the kind support of the Science Museum.

What is the learning methodology?

The Principia Mission Space Diary is designed to present STEM learning in a visual, creative way, opening up the possibility for more children to get involved in the science of space travel. Each exercise combines a STEM subject with literacy and visual literacy elements, to ensure children are gaining a cross-section of skills while having fun!

We recommend this programme for students aged 5-7 but it can be used throughout primary school, as the content is developed in such a way that children complete the books themselves. Younger children will be able to work with supervision and collaboratively, while older children will be able to work independently or with supervision to draw out some of the deeper learning that we’ve incorporated. Each chapter of the book is accompanied by teaching notes to help with lesson planning, and a video for additional challenges.

What is visual literacy?

Visual literacy is the ability to understand and interpret visual images. It plays an important part in our lives – from practical things like being able to understand signs and symbols, to complex things like being able to interpret body language, navigate the web or use images to convey complex ideas.

Today’s world is a predominantly visual one, and through the use of digital media and devices children are developing highly evolved visual literacy skills. These skills enable them to navigate a complex world quickly and intuitively. Our model uses this visual intuition as a channel for learning. By utilising visual tools and visual literacy methods we ensure that our books engage children the way children are engaging with the world – visually, interactively and in a way that is empowering for them.

How will my children/students benefit?

Your students will be empowered to learn, imagine and communicate by creating their very own book. The Principia Mission Space Diary offers children the chance to learn about the different stages of a space adventure through Tim Peake’s important mission. From preparing to go into space, to launching a rocket, experimenting on the International Space Station and cooking in space, children will explore all of the strange and exciting parts of Tim’s adventure. Students will:

  • Learn about health, wellbeing and nutrition as they investigate what it takes to become an astronaut.
  • Gain insight into the careers available in the area of space science.
  • Strengthen literacy and visual literacy skills.
  • Problem solve, experiment and research.
  • Engage in STEM learning.

Signing up and buying books

Who can sign up?

All primary schools in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are invited to sign up to the free programme, and can purchase hard copies of the Space Diary. Home educators and other educational organisations, like after-school care centres or guides and scouts clubs, are also welcome to register. Books can be ordered individually if you don’t need a full class set.

Schools outside the UK are also welcome to sign up for the free programme, but unfortunately we are unable to supply print copies of the diary to countries other than the UK.

How much do print books cost?

Printed diaries cost £5.99 per copy, but schools and groups will receive a discount of a little over 40% on orders or 15 or more (£3.60 per copy). We offer free shipping for UK addresses.


How do I order books?

Once you’ve signed up, log into the website and click ‘Bookshop’ in the menu bar. We have three options for book orders: a single copy, a class pack of 30 or a ‘Home Educators’ pack.

Can you send an invoice to my school?

Yes! When you get to the checkout, you can nominate for us to send an invoice to your school to pay for your Space Diaries. Make sure your school includes your name as a reference on the invoice. Invoices can be emailed to

Can I pay with credit card?

Absolutely! To pay by credit card, select PayPal as your payment method when you reach the checkout. You can pay with a credit card without needing to set up a PayPal account – just select PayPal’s ‘guest’ option.

Unfortunately we can’t accept credit card payments over the phone. Please contact the Space Diary Crew at if you’re having difficulty paying for your order.

I’ve ordered books. When will they arrive?

All orders will be dispatched within 7 days of payment clearing.


Already done the Space Diary programme?

I’m already signed up to the Principia Space Diary programme last year. Can I participate again this year?

Yes, you sure can! You will already have created a username for the 2015-16 or the 2016-17 programme. If you can’t remember what your username is, or the email address you used to sign up, please contact Space Diary Headquarters at If you remember your username but not your password, go to the sign in page, enter your username and click the ‘Lost your password?’ link. You’ll then receive an email explaining how to reset your password.

My kids did the Space Diary programme last year. How much of the content has changed?

If you participated in the 2015-16 edition of the Space Diary we have since updated and printed a second edition in which around 10% of the Space Diary content is new and about 50% of activities have been updated or further improved. We’ve also made significant changes to the teaching notes and teacher resources, so that the programme includes curriculum links and integrates information about Tim Peake’s activities aboard the ISS. Most activities contain some kind of new content.

If you participated in the 2016-17 edition, the programme has not changed for 2017-18.

Sharing your students’ work

Can I share my school’s work?

Yes please! We would LOVE to see your work and encourage you to keep an eye on the Mission Feed of this website to see what other schools are doing too.

  • Use the #spacediary hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. As long as your post is public, we’ll be able to see it and it will automatically be added to the Mission Feed.
  • Upload your photos via the website Upload form and we’ll post them to the Mission Feed.

How will you use my photographs?

We will use the photos on our website and social media so that other schools and students can see what students are creating with the Principia Mission Space Diary, and to promote the education outreach around Tim Peake’s Principia mission. We will request permission directly from you for any use beyond this.

Who is responsible for copyright clearance and parental consent for images?

It is your responsibility to ensure all permissions are cleared in full and that photographs of minors have all necessary permissions from parents/carers. Curved House Kids, the projects partners and the UK Space Agency are not responsible for clearing copyright permissions or parental consent for any photographs supplied by schools.

Sharing images on Social Media

It is assumed that photographs you or your school post publicly online are cleared for copyright and consent. These may be used on our website via an automatic feed from social media and will not be hosted or stored on our server at any time.

What is your photography policy?

We take child safety on the internet very seriously. You can read over our photography policy and take a look at our release form here.

Need help? Have questions?

How do I contact you?

Please email We will respond to all queries within 24 hours.