WATCH: Portsmouth pupils meet astronaut Tim Peake at space conference

Devida Bushrod (front) with (l-r) Maddy Bushrod (13),  Devida's husband Jason, Mark Loudon (nine), mum Sarah Loudon, Ruth Loudon (10), and Angela Kerfoot. Picture Ian Hargreaves  (171556-1)

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DELIGHTED students got the chance to meet famous astronaut Tim Peake at a special space conference in Portsmouth today.

The University of Portsmouth graduate paid a visit to the UK Space Agency Schools Conference at the Guildhall.

The conference celebrates the work of over a million UK school students inspired by Major Peake’s Principia mission, which saw the flight dynamics and evaluation graduate spend more than six months on board the International Space Station.

Youngsters are presenting their work through talks and exhibitions to experts from the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency (ESA), partner organisations and the space sector.

Students spoke of their delight at meeting the astronaut, and revealed how much they were inspired by his incredible space travels.

Orchard Lea Junior School pupil Mia Fry, 10, said: ‘It was very exciting hearing about what it was like for him in space. ‘He’s encouraged me to follow in his footsteps when I am a bit older. I am thinking about all career as an astronaut.’

Hugo Kilbride, nine, said: ‘It was fantastic. And it’s great because he is from England too. He makes me want to work hard.

‘He shows a lot of resilience and didn’t give up.’

Court Lane Junior School students also loved his visit.

Joshua Gallagher, nine, said: ‘It was amazing to hear about Tim Peake for the first time. He is a cool guy because he is the first British astronaut to go into space. He is very inspirational.’

While Lauren Ellis, 11, said she’s felt inspired to pursue a career in engineering.

Ahead of the visit, vice-chancellor at the university, Professor Graham Galbraith, said: ‘I feel very proud and excited to be hosting Tim in Portsmouth.

‘His remarkable journey to space has been inspirational for both children and adults and we’re thrilled he’ll be sharing his experiences with students, staff and members of the public.’

Major Peake will also later today receive an honourary degree following his University of Portsmouth graduation in 2006.