Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Armchair Astronaut event with Michael Foale

An Afternoon with retired astronaut Michael Foale.

While Tim Peake might be the first British astronaut but the first British-born male astronaut was Michael Foale and I was very excited to get the chance to meet him - this time a little closer to home in Milton Keynes rather than Pontefract.

It was a great afternoon with the event was split into three main parts. In the first hour Mike Foale spoke about his missions on the space shuttle and then on ISS - he talked us through his early life and how he became an astronaut and then aspects of each mission. There were lots of little anecdotes and film clips to bring everything together and it was fascinating listening. To be honest if the event had stopped there it would have been brilliant but it continued...

Part two was all about Foale's eventful time on the MIR space station exactly twenty years ago. This was at the start of American/Russian cooperation in space, at a time when the MIR space station was ageing and when the differences in approach from the two nations were at their most divergent.  A resupply ship, which was being docked to the space station manually, crashed into part of the MIR puncturing it and causing a slow depressurisation, loss of power and loss of control.

Even though I knew the outcome of this accident (spoiler alert - eventually all was fine) Foale's presentation was tense and dramatic - I don't remember seeing the actual footage of the moment the accident happened - and then his account of the slow saving of the the MIR showed just how much of the 'Right Stuff' astronauts still have.

After another short break there was a lovely long question and answer session which covered all areas of Foale's career, his thoughts on the future of space travel and also great advice for anyone looking to get into their dream career.

After all of this some of us had premium tickets which meant we got to stay a little longer, get an autograph and then chat more with Foale.

It was a lovely afternoon and so well organised by the Armchair Astronaut and very nice to catch up with other space friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment