Astronaut’s visit to campus out of this world

NASA astronaut, Michael Foale, has commanded the International Space Station, rescued an out of control Russian space craft and flown six shuttle missions.

On 24 January, Michael Foale visited the UEA campus to share his experiences with a lecture theatre packed with students and the public.

The 60 year old has spent 373 days in space and in 1995 he became the first Brit to perform a spacewalk, during which he saved the Hubble Space Telescope.

The event was hosted by the Pint of Science Group, in collaboration with the UEA Science Communication Society and the International Space School Educational Trust.

During the much anticipated evening, there was footage of the astronaut’s journey into space. Speaking to the audience, Foale said, “Going to the moon was what made me want to be an astronaut.” His mother also encouraged him to follow his dreams by giving him space and science fiction books to read.

He also said, “I thought the only way to be an astronaut was to be a test pilot.” Foale finished his PhD and on the third try of applying to be an astronaut, he finally succeeded. 6,000 people applied for the nationals and he was one of 15, who was selected. Two thirds of the space team was made up of the military group.

In 1992, the astronaut had his first mission called Atlas, where they flew around the world for ten days and studied sunrises and sunsets to measure global warming and the ozone layer. When he was launching the International Space Station, he spent 195 days on the ISS, including Christmas day.

The live footage played during the event showed Foale tumble turning and flipping in the air, making amusing videos for his family back home.

A member of the audience, Rachel Miller said, “It was such an enjoyable, informing, funny and interesting evening. Being able to have an insight on space travel from an astronaut, who has been to space was very special.” She said Foale was inspiring with the dynamic host Chris Barber.


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January 2021
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