European Space Agency Astronaut Tim Peake will be announced on 11 July as this year’s winner of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s prestigious Rooke Award in recognition of his inspirational promotion of engineering and space through the Principia mission’s education programme, the largest and most successful educational campaign supporting a European astronaut mission.

Tim Peake with Rocketry Challenge students, copyright ESA

Awarded for the public promotion of engineering, the Rooke Award honours people who have brought engineering to life for the public. Previous winners include structural engineer Roma Agrawal and Professor Danielle George MBE, co-founder of Manchester’s Robot Orchestra.

Tim began his career as an officer in the British Army Air Corps. Having been selected for test pilot training, he graduated from the Empire Test Pilots’ School at Boscombe Down in 2005 and, in 2006, received a Bachelor of Science degree in flight dynamics and evaluation from the University of Portsmouth.

Following his retirement from the British Army Tim was selected as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May 2009, graduating from astronaut basic training in November 2010. Tim spent three years conducting further training and working as a communicator with the International Space Station prior to his assignment to a long duration mission in 2013.

Tim was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS), launching in a Soyuz rocket on 15 December 2015. Taking part in over 250 scientific experiments for ESA and international partners during his mission, highlights saw him drive a rover across a simulated Mars terrain from space and helping dock two spacecraft.

Tim was also determined to make Principia an exciting adventure for young people, recognising that it was a unique opportunity to engage them in the science and engineering of human spaceflight. Through an educational outreach programme of more than 30 projects, the mission inspired and engaged more than two million school children across approximately 10,000 schools - equivalent to around 15% of all school children and one in three schools in the UK.

On his return to Earth he embarked on a countrywide tour to consolidate the public interest in the mission. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the engineering of the ISS has captured the imagination of young and old alike. The many other activities that he has contributed to since returning to Earth include the Year of Engineering, publishing three books that engage the reader in key concepts in the science and engineering of space, engaging directly with his 1.6 million Twitter followers, and joining Chief Scout Bear Grylls to promote aeronautics to the young people involved in the Scouting movement.

Tim Peake said; "It’s a huge honour to receive the 2019 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Award for promoting engineering to the public. Engineering is so incredibly important to our lives today, it can help us find solutions to many of the challenges that we face, as well as drive innovation and improve the quality of life for people around the world. That is why it is vital to inspire and engage young people from all backgrounds and encourage them to consider a career in engineering."

“It’s a huge honour to receive the 2019 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Award for promoting engineering to the public. Engineering is so incredibly important to our lives today, it can help us find solutions to many of the challenges that we face, as well as drive innovation and improve the quality of life for people around the world. That is why it is vital to inspire and engage young people from all backgrounds and encourage them to consider a career in engineering.”

Tim Peake

Pete Lomas, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and founder of Raspberry Pi said; "As part of Tim Peake’s Principia mission, he personally spearheaded the largest education and outreach initiative ever undertaken for an ESA astronaut. Tim actively connects young people’s fascination with space exploration to the need for innovative engineering. 

“As a founder of Raspberry Pi, I was thrilled that Tim acted as a personal ambassador for the Astro Pi programme. This gave young people across the UK the opportunity to develop their computing skills by writing code that ran on the specially engineered Raspberry Pi computers on-board the ISS.

Thanks to Tim’s enthusiastic support for all Principia educational programmes and his passion for space exploration, over two million young people positively engaged with science and engineering across the various programmes.  I’m delighted that Tim is the recipient of the 2019 Rooke Medal.” 

Notes to editors

  1. The Rooke Award for the public promotion of engineering is awarded to an individual, small team or organisation who have contributed to the Academy's aims and work through their initiative in promoting engineering to the public. The award is named in honour of the late Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng, a former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the UK's most distinguished engineers. As Chairman of British Gas, his legacy was to build the UK's gas distribution network and unite the gas industry, making domestic gas a cheap and convenient fuel source for millions of people. He later became Chancellor of Loughborough University and served on many national advisory committees on both energy policy and education.
  2. Annual Awards Dinner 2019. This year’s Royal Academy of Engineering Awards Dinner takes place at London’s Banqueting House on Thursday 11 July. Along with the announcement of the winner of this year’s MacRobert Award, the event will also celebrate the winners of other awards and prizes including the Major Project Award, Silver Medal, President’s Medal, Rooke Award and RAEng Engineers Trust Young Engineer of the Year. The headline sponsor of this year’s Awards Dinner is Rolls-Royce, with additional silver sponsors BP and Lockheed Martin.
  1. The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member. ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions. ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications. More: www.esa.int
  2. Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information please contact: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0745; email: victoria.runcie@raeng.org.uk