Helping Tim Peake call on the UK to join his crew

Britain’s first European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake, is now living on the International Space Station, but it took a diverse team of highly skilled people to get him there.

Children have always dreamed of being an astronaut, but how do you bring to life the stories of the scientists and engineers behind the Principia mission, on whom Tim depends, and inspire the next generation of human spaceflight pioneers?

That was the challenge handed to The Happy Seven by the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres and the UK Space Agency.

As a key partner in the mission’s public engagement programme, not only was the ASDC tasked with explaining the science behind Tim’s trip to the ISS through live shows at twenty visitor attractions across the country, it was also required to showcase the wider team needed to get him there, and the career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths that they represent. There was a particular focus on reaching young women, as well as families with relatively little exposure to science.

To develop the core proposition, we ran a creative hack day in London with a wide variety of experts chosen for their relevance to the task in hand, including scientists, developers, journalists, ad creatives, designers and editors from the youth sector.


Returning to our HQ, we worked with Falmouth-based designer and illustrator Martin Coote to visualise the content strategy and overarching ideas we’d generated. Inspired by American cartoon shows that appeal to the broad target market, Martin created a crew of characters to represent each of the team roles.

Dr. Penny Fidler of the ASDC made the link to the phrase “standing on the shoulders of giants”, attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, author of the famous work from which the Principia mission takes its name.

Now named Destination Space, The Happy Seven worked with the ASDC and its delivery team, recruited from experts at the National Space Centre, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and the Science Museum, to develop printed support materials for the live show, online brand guidelines and a bank of digital assets to be used by the twenty centres delivering it. The logo was developed to incorporate the UK Space Agency marque.

Anchored by the hashtag #JoinTheCrew, we put together an integrated media strategy that continues today and includes key influencers, bloggers, traditional media and social media with pick up across numerous titles and channels including slots on BBC Breakfast, CBBC’s Newsround and interviews across the country via BBC General News Service.

At the heart of Destination Space is a website, DestinationSpace, built in conjunction with design agency fffunction, which showcases all the exciting events that are taking places at science centres across the country.

Online, people can follow Tim Peake’s adventures in space and get behind his mission by finding out all about the inspiring figures who will be supporting his adventures. Everyone can sign up for training with Tim and share their endeavours via a social media command centre powered by AwesomeWall.

A unique personality tool based on the career profiling Holland Code algorithm, has been developed that allows people to find out which role in the space crew would suit them best and secures them a place in Tim Peake’s crew.

James Summers, Special Projects Manager at the ASDC, said “The Happy Seven’s pop-up marketing department concept, bringing together the right freelancers and teams to get the job done to a high standard, was the perfect solution for this fixed-term, funded project. Despite a tight schedule, they were able to turn a complex brief into a simple proposition that families understood, and brought it to life in an engaging way.”

Dr. Penny Fidler, Chief Executive of the ASDC said “We are delighted with the overall Destination Space project, which showcases all the hugely exciting people as well as the science and engineering involved in human spaceflight and Tim Peake’s mission. We would like to say a big thank you to The Happy Seven and to fffunction for bringing together all the activities, events and resources for the project so schools and families can get involved online and through social media as well as of course the excellent branding that is used for the thousands of hands-on events at science centres and museums across the UK.”

Over a quarter of a million young people are forecast to join the Destination Space crew by the end of the programme. It’s been our privilege to help the public join Tim Peake on his extraordinary adventure, but it’s an ongoing mission, with lots more exciting work to come.

To see the project go to: