Spacelab Logo

  • Introduction
  • The Presenter
  • Science
  • History
  • Dawn of the Space Age
  • The Trench 1914-18
  • Prices & Information.
  • Contact

Spacelab is an immersive, Full Dome portable Planetarium and Cinema Theatre system.

In response to the National curriculum, Space Lab visits schools offering six separate presentations in:

The Earth and Beyond.
Light and Sound.

Light and Space.

Ancient Greek Culture – Myths and Legends.
The Ancient Egyptians.

The immersive Full Dome film Dawn of the Space Age.

These stimulating presentations are intended to complement and enhance the requirements of the National Curriculum.

Details of the talks can be seen under the Science, Culture & Legends and Dawn of the Space Age tabs at the top of the page.

The talks are all conducted in the exciting environment of the planetarium, which is a self-contained darkened classroom that encourages intensive study sessions without distractions.

Inside the Space Lab, dramatic audio and visual aids are used to transport the class into various environments. The sophisticated planetarium projector can project the beautiful starry and moon lit night sky and can include a caricature representation of the Ancient Egyptian or classical Greek constellation.



Spacelab - interior

Above. Starlab as seen from the outside and a cutaway showing a presentation.

Murray R. Barber F.R.A.S., astronomer and author, is married with two children.

He lives in Bradworthy, north Devon and pursues several business interests that are related to astronomy.

Having worked in the printing industry for twenty years, he changed careers having bought his first Starlab Planetarium in 1993 and began touring schools in the southeast before moving to Devon in the mid noughties.

He has been a representative for the American manufactures of Starlab for over seventeen years.

He has developed and written curriculum support information for the teaching of astronomy as well as the history of ancient Egypt, which is in use in planetariums worldwide.

In 2005, with his wife and a business partner, he formed a residential astronomical retreat for amateur astronomers making good use of the west countries dark night skies.

Since his schooldays he has always been interested in history and space travel and in the autumn of 2011 his first book was published on the subject of the German V2 Rocket.

He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Published by 'The Tattered Flag'

EarthriseLight and SoundLight and Space

Earth and Beyond Presentation.
Key Stage One.
The following is discussed illustrated or demonstrated. The Earth, Moon and Sun are separate spherical bodies. Gravity, day, night and year. The Moon and how we see it. Importance of the Earth, highlighting air and water. The compass. The Sun is a star and gives light, warmth and shines all the time. The distances that objects in space. The light, brightness and colours of the stars. The North Pole Star.

Key Stage Two and Three.
The above including the changing altitude of the Sun throughout the day.  Examples of comparative sizes and distances within the Solar System. Moon phases. Concepts of infinite space.  Distance, size temperature and ages of the stars.

Light and Sound Presentation.
Key Stage One.
The following is discussed illustrated or demonstrated. Sound and light are forms of energy. Sound has tone and volume and is produced from different sources. It is heard when it enters the ear. How the ear works. Sound reduces over distance and does not travel in a straight line.

Key Stage Two.
Sound travels as vibrations to the ear. The speed of sound. Sound has pitch and loudness, which can be changed. The light we see is a small part of the entire light that exists. Light travels at a speed. Opacity, translucency and transparency. Reflection and refraction using mirrors and lenses. The planets like the Moon are seen because of reflected sunlight.

Light and Space Presentation.
Key Stage Two.
The following is either discussed or illustrated. What it light? The Sun and stars are sources of light. Why sunlight is so important. Light travels faster than sound and can be bent or bounced. Some objects are better at reflecting light than others. The Moon and planets are seen because of reflected sunlight. Opacity, translucency and transparency. Examples of distances and imaginary journeys travelling at the speed of light through space. How the eye works and the colours of the rainbow. Why we experience daytime and nighttime. How we have learnt so much about the stars. Why the stars have different colours and brightness.



Greek Culture, Myths and Legends Presentation.
Key Stage One.
The perception of the world by the Greeks. Architecture and the homes and temples of the gods. The many gods of the Greeks. Star patterns ‘invented’ by the Greeks. The sky as a cinema for story telling. Tales of Hercules. The tale of Princess Andromeda and her rescue by Perseus. Orion the Hunter and patterns are pointed out. Upon the background of the starry night sky the tale of Apollo and his foolish son Phaeton is told. The rising of the Sun.

Key Stage Two. The above in more depth and with greater religious aspect. Greek perceptions of the Universe. The planets thought to be under the influence of the gods. Greek gods adopted by the Romans and comparison names are given. Greek tales inform, entertain and have morals.

Ancient Egyptians Presentation.
Key Stage Two.
The position of Egypt and the importance of the Nile for agriculture and communications. Why the modern world is so fascinated by the legacy of Ancient Egyptians. Hieroglyphics and the Rosseta Stone. The mummification process and religious beliefs of the afterlife. The ‘Tragedy of Osiris’ legend and its importance. The priesthood and their temples. The Pharaohs and the extraordinary Pyramids. The power of the Pharaohs in life and death. The pillaging of Pyramids by grave robbers. The development of the ‘Valley of the Kings’ burial site. The discovery of Tutankhamen by Carter and Lord Carnarvon. The Ancient Egyptians and their beliefs in the Sun, Earth and stars.

Dawn of the Space Age – Immersive Full Dome Presentation.

This remarkable production celebrates man's early exploration into space and Mankind's first steps on the moon. It shows the excitement, tension and danger in a realistic exciting drama that will enthral the entire class!

This will be no ordinary experience for the children as they will sit inside the inflatable dome and are 'immersed' in the all round projection of the movie. The first satellite Sputnik is seen taking off.

The Apollo missions and manned flight around the Moon followed by the ‘Giant Leap for Mankind’ and subsequent lunar rovers are relived.

The film can be used as an inspiring 'launch pad' for children at the start of their themed project of learning or alternatively as an exciting 'recap'.

Dawn of the Space Age

The Trench 1914 – 1918

Immersive Full Dome Presentation.

Written specifically for Key Stage Two, this unique visual and audio experience, the audience is transported back one-hundred years to be surrounded by the infamous Trench.

The experience of serving in the Front-Line is sensitively told by two principal characters, Private David Barnes and Commanding Officer Alec Fitzgerald. 

The dialogue explains how gradual changes in the War in favour of the Allies was to lead to a Armistice.  The film concludes with soaring views of German and British War cemeteries and monuments in Flanders including the poignant 'Last Post' ceremony at the famous Menin Gate, Belgium.

Dramatic sound effects and a music soundtrack including Wagner, Ravel, Chopin and Holst add to the atmosphere of the drama.

Duration of approximately 30 minutes.  A transcript is available upon request.

Presentation Costs.
Inclusive charges are £60 per presentation with a minimum of two and a maximum of five in any one day.

Presentations are for 45 minutes and normally conclude with a short question and answer session.

A travel charge is applied to a booking of only two presentations.

Under special circumstance, it is possible to conduct six presentations in one day. For presentations of four or greater, three presentations will be conducted in the morning and the remainder in the afternoon.

Specification of Planetarium.
The Space Lab is an inflatable 4.8 m or 6 m (Full Dome) diameter dome of flame retarding nylon polymer material and carries CE approval.

The entrance allows access for wheelchairs. Installation time is approximately 45 minutes. The indoor space required is 6.4 m by 5.5 m and a height of not less than 3.2 m or 3.6 m (Full Dome) with access to mains power supply.

Children’s Behaviour.
It is hoped that children will listen as attentively and quietly as they do in a collective class room situation. They should also follow instructions given to them.

Seating Capacity.
For safety reasons there is a limit of up to 35 infants, 30 juniors or 25 seniors that can be accommodated at any one time.

The planetarium is not enclosed so an emergency exit is possible by lifting the dome walls.


Please use the form below to contact Spacelab by email.
We endeavor to respond to all enquiries the same day. However depending on
the time of day you contact us it may be up to 24 hours before we are able to reply.

01409 241719

Murray R. Barber F.R.A.S.,
Kimworthy Cottage,
EX22 7RP.