A group of Renfrewshire school pupils will see the science experiment they designed launched to the International Space Station tonight - so that astronauts such as Tim Peake can carry out their work.
The six pupils – now aged between 16 and 17 – were the winners of the week-long Mission Discovery Renfrewshire space school held in Paisley in summer 2014.
Led by ex-NASA astronaut Ken Ham, the scheme hosted by Renfreshire Council and run by the International Space Station Educational Trust saw 200 pupils split into teams and asked to design an experiment to be carried out in orbit.
The winning team of Katherine Bogan, Lara Cumming, Ben Herrington, Callum Mort, Olivia Ramsay and Christopher Withers have had to wait almost two years for their experiment to make it onto a NASA mission. Their work will be launched from Cape Canaveral tonight at 9.43pm UK time.
Their experiment - aboard SpaceX CRS 8 on the Falcon 9 Rocket - will see tests carried out on bacteria in outer space in order to find a cure for the eye condition conjunctivitis.
Ben, 17, from Erskine, said: “It’s quite surreal – very few people will ever be able to say something they designed was launched into space but we are among them.
“And it’s great for our future careers – I have been mentioning it in every job application and interview I have!”
The team was congratulated by former NASA astronaut Ken Ham, who said: ““It has been nearly two years but it feels like my time with Mission Discovery Renfrewshire was just last month.
“It was a fantastic experience to work with the youth, the teachers, the businesses, and the leadership of Paisley. After being involved with a number of Mission Discovery events around the world, I said then and I continue to agree, Mission Discovery Paisley was the best of all.”
International Space Station Educational Trust founder Chris Barber said: “I am delighted this brilliant experiment by the students is being launched aboard the International Space Station – and it’s a special treat for them the experiment is due to be carried out by UK astronaut Tim Peake.
“The students have shown ingenuity in coming up with an experiment on conjunctivitis in space.”
Peter MacLeod, Renfrewshire Council’s director of children’s services, added: “We are thrilled for the pupils involved – for an experiment they designed to be making the trip from Paisley into outer space will be an out-of-this-world experience.
“There are few places where children can learn directly from NASA astronauts, but thanks to Mission Discovery and the team at ISSET, Renfrewshire is one of them.
Mission Discovery will return to Paisley this summer, marking the third time the space school has taken place in Renfrewshire.
Those who wish to watch tonight’s launch live can view it on the NASA website