Astronaut Rescue Mission™ | Team & Leadership Training Activity

  • Astronaut Rescue Mission™ | Team & Leadership Training Activity | Virtual Training Activity

Astronaut Rescue Mission

**FOR USE IN VIRTUAL & FACE-TO-FACE TRAINING SESSIONS** ​​Teams represent a group of astronauts on a training mission. Forced to evacuate the Space Station they have landed safely back on Earth in a remote region. What must they do to be rescued?

Learning Objectives

  • to identify 10 trigger points where leadership is required
  • to show that the leader role can move between different team members
  • to recognise some basic leadership traits
  • to see the benefits when a team is organised and well led
  • to show that there is not just one style for effective leadership
  • to show the importance of whole team collaboration
  • to show the importance of the team supporting the leader

Five-Year Repeat Use Licence

This Northgate training activity comes with a five-year licence for repeat use with up to 24 participants per training session within the licence-holding organisation. Please ask for a discount on multiple licences to use with larger groups. Also includes access to the Northgate Trainerhub (see below for details).

  • Participants

    3-24 (up to 4 teams of 3-6 per team)

  • Timing

    1 hour + debrief

  • Uses a computer?

    Not required

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Access for digital products is via the Northgate Trainerhub (we will set you up with hub access within 24 (working) hours of your order & our working hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm).

  • UK delivery

    (normally next working day)


  • Europe delivery

    (1-2 working days)


  • World delivery

    (1-5 working days)



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The Activity

In this exciting and immersive training activity, the clock is ticking and time is short. Having landed somewhere in the Koruk Mountains teams must reach a certain location in order to be rescued. To achieve that goal there’s a lot to do! The pressure is on.

Teams have a map but no idea where they are on that map, they’ll have to work it out - and the same applies to their pick-up point. How far away is it? How quickly can they travel? They’ll need to camp overnight - in hostile conditions. Survival equipment is in the landing capsule, but which items should they take - it all needs carrying in backpacks.

How will teams work? There’s a lot to sort out so they need to prioritise. Will anyone establish themselves as leader? Who’s good at reading maps (guidance provided in the Brief)? Which items are essential? More important, do they realise the time pressure? The longer they take to prepare, the less time they have for their journey.

10 ‘leadership trigger points' have been identified. At each somebody has to take the lead and push the team on. Taking too long means they won't make the deadline.

Ideal for observing teams and how they interact under pressure as well as identifying those individuals who show leadership potential. Ultimately this activity leads to a useful discussion about what makes a good leader, what leadership is all about and how participants can demonstrate leadership skills back in the workplace.

Trainer's Role

  • Introduce the activity as a teambuilding activity with a focus on leadership skills.
  • Divide the group into teams. Typically 3-6 per team.
  • Issue several copies of the Team Brief to each team.
  • When a team gives you the correct answer to a question in the Brief, issue them with a copy of the Koruk Mountains Map.
  • Observe team performance and note the ‘leadership triggers’ (listed in the Trainer’s Notes).
  • Issue Planning Forms and remind teams that time taken in making their initial decisions is added to their travel time. After 30 minutes remind teams of the approaching deadline.
  • Stop all teams at the 60-minute point. Issue the Review Form so they can assess their performance and reflect on examples of leadership they demonstrated during the activity.
  • Conduct a Debrief, focusing on the 10 triggers. Discuss and summarise key learning points.

Full guidance supplied in the Trainer’s Notes

Pack Contents

  • Trainer’s Notes
  • Team Briefs
  • Koruk Mountains Maps
  • Handout: Planning Form
  • Handout: Team Review Form

This activity is supplied as a hard copy pack for face-to-face classroom use and as a set of digital files for virtual classroom use (the digital files are supplied via the Northgate Trainerhub).

Northgate Trainerhub

Benefits of the online Northgate Trainerhub include:

  • Easy-to-access resource library which stores all the digital files for the activity in one place
  • Immediate access to upgrades made to the activity over the five-year licence term
  • Access to an online Trainer Forum where you can post questions, share experiences & network with other Trainers
  • Access to free activities and icebreakers
  • Option to send information to team leaders digitally via the hub using Team Access Codes
  • Unlimited Trainer logins for all Trainers based at the licence-holding site

'Astronaut Rescue Mission' is a very versatile and engaging activity. Whether I use it as a team activity, a leadership challenge or as an ice breaker it never fails to produce important discussions that add value. The activity gives you great planning opportunities, attention to detail and collaboration aspects. The quality of material as ever only enhances the perception of reality. To summarise, a flexible, dynamic and appropriately challenging activity.

Mark Higgins, Director, BFL Training

I used the 'Astronaut Rescue Mission' activity on the first day of a programme with Team Leaders – they all worked in a warehousing environment and were very nervous as they hadn’t experienced leadership training before. The Astronaut activity really helped to put them at ease and broke the ice as they all got involved in solving the problem. Without realising it, they all demonstrated leadership skills at some point in the activity, and the debrief was both fun and enlightening as they realised the different skills they already had (along with those they want to develop). Astronaut! worked well with a group who were a little unsure of themselves and the training, and resulted in some excellent discussions on leadership styles.

Jo Kehoe, Director, JK Training Ltd

'Astronaut Rescue Mission' worked really well virtually. I used it as a “pressure game” for people to then reflect on mindset & resilience. So I only gave 30 minutes (rather than 1 hour) for the game. It worked – it created a rich conversation about how perfectionism & team dynamics interfered with performance. I ran it virtually and it worked a treat. All credit to Northgate for design – easy to run & highly engaging.

Adie Shariff, Director, Haynes Shariff Ltd

We've run 'Astronaut Rescue Mission' remotely a couple of times now and we’re very impressed!

Mark Drummond, Head of Training & Development, Story Contracting Ltd

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