Students from Brookfield Community School have just returned from an ‘out of this world’ visit to Moscow where they met cosmonauts who had been to the International Space Station (ISS).
The group of lucky students embarked on the five-day space-themed trip last month.
Jack Jerram, a year-ten student at the Chesterfield school has just started his GCSEs. He said he learned a lot of the trip.
He said: “It was an amazing trip – a real out of this world experience.
“We explored markets, visited Red Square, the Kremlin and of course visited a replica of the ISS and spent time talking to people who had already been up.
“I learned that cosmonauts have to train for a minimum of five-to-six years before they can even be considered for a trip to space.
“They generally find out a week or two before the mission, which if they haven’t been selected, seems a lot of work to find out at the 11th hour that you cannot go.”
Some students got to try on authentic spacesuits and put questions to Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergey and Alexander Volkov.
A highlight for Jack was seeing Yuri Gagarin’s rocket.
Yuri Gagarin was a Russian Soviet pilot and cosmonaut.
He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the earth in April 1961.
Jack, 14, said: “Seeing the rocket was a real highlight for me, something I had been looking forward to for a long time.
“I enjoyed the trip, it was a great experience. I enjoyed finding out about a different culture, and was the first person in my family to travel to Russia so I have been telling them all about it.
“The only downside was the food. It seems that beetroot and cabbage are added extras at almost every meal, so if you didn’t like either of those, you were in trouble!”
Brookfield was one of the first schools to go over and create and develop connections between English and Russian schools.
The trip was mentioned by head teacher Steve Edmonds, assistant headteacher Gemma Atkinson and teacher Denise Howard, around 18 months ago, when teachers asked students if they would be interested in going. Around 40 pupils showed an interest and signed up.
Over the 18-month planning period, students held numerous fundraisers to try and help boost the fund to pay for the trip.
They held bag-packing events at supermarkets including Morrisons at Walton.
The youngsters were also taught Russian words and learnt about the country’s history, embassy, education and culture in the run up to the trip.