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A group of the College's Year 7 students took a special interest in British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s launch into space.

The students gathered on 15 December 2015 to watch Tim's launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The group is part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

It's a horticultural experiment to grow seeds which have been to the International Space Station (ISS).  The seeds are among 2kg of rocket seeds flown to the ISS in September Soyuz 44S and will spend several months in microgravity before returning to Earth in March 2016.

Plymouth Herald: Plymouth Pupils Cheer As British Astronaut Tim Peake Launches Into Space

The students are already fascinated by Tim Peake and have been counting down to the launch and following him on Twitter.

 "They have been so excited about the launch – watching on television before coming into school today and have been on tenterhooks until the launch," said Mrs Jarvis, Learning Support teacher who is co-ordinating the project at the College.

"It is so inspiring."

Year 7 Courtney said it was "really exciting".

"I felt a bit worried about Tim Peake but I’m glad it's gone to plan."

Fellow Year 7 Ryan said he was looking forward to growing the seeds.

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"I'm enjoying learning more about space and it will be interesting following Tim Peake while he’s up there."

The students will be given a packet of seeds from space and will grow them alongside ones which haven’t and measure the differences over seven weeks.

It is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate Tim’s Principia mission to the ISS and to inspire young people to look into careers in STEM subjects including horticulture.

"The students won't know which packets contain which seeds until all the results have been collected and analysed," said Mrs Jarvis.

"We are very proud to be part of Rocket Science. The students are so keen to receive their seeds and begin the exciting task of planting and monitoring them.

"The group is already responsible for an area of the school garden where they grow a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers," said Mrs Jarvis.

"This project will really enhance their learning and understanding of how food of the future may be grown.”

The group is preparing for their own mission by following the movements of the ISS and noting when it passes over Plymouth.

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 Ryan says “the most interesting thing" will be discovering if the seeds will still be able to grow on earth "once they have been in a different atmosphere".

"We are part of finding out whether food can be grown up there - it's exciting."

The College has been an enthusiastic participant in RHS initiatives in recent years - last year David Cavey, who is now in Year 11, was named Key Stage 3 School Gardener of the Year.

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