press release
Published: 17 July 2019

NASA astronaut wows audience at Surrey

By Robert Blevin

On the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the University of Surrey welcomed hundreds of visitors – from avid space fans, to space newbies - to a sold out evening with British born astronaut, Dr Michael Foale CBE.

Michael Foale with Dr Heather Campbell

Having clocked more than 370 days in space, Dr Foale is the most experienced British-born astronaut in history and the first to perform a space-walk during which he saved the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999. He has flown in six Space Shuttle missions and a Soyuz mission, and commanded the International Space Station.

Dr Foale captivated the audience with his recollections of missions to space including rescuing the Russian Mir Space Station when it was hit by a supply craft, lost power and tumbled out of control.

Visitors to the event also got the chance to learn more about the activities of the University of Surrey Space Centre and Astrophysics group, with a talk from resident space expert , astrophysicist Dr Michelle Collins, and a range of exhibits and hands-on demonstrations staffed by students and researchers from the University. Highlights included stands on the RemoveDEBRIS satellite, exploring the Universe with all 5 senses, and a demonstration of our telescopes.

Dr. Heather Campbell, Outreach Coordinator in the Department of Physics, said “This unique event attracted a really diverse audience, from young to old, all of whom were blown away by Michael’s talk, and the space research we’re doing here at Surrey. Events like these inspire our next generation of scientists, and who knows – maybe our next British-born astronaut?”

The event was produced in collaboration with Pint of Science, and the International Space School Educational Trust.

To learn more about the work of the Space Centre and Astrophysics departments at University of Surrey, check out their research pages via the links above, and visit us at our Guildford High Street take-over for World Space Week on the 5th October 2019.

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