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Jodrell Bank to witness the first Brit to walk in space

13 Jan 2016

University and BBC play host to historic milestone

Jodrell Bank by Mark Waugh

A historic milestone in British space exploration will be shared by experts and guests at The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank as part of a planned special BBC broadcast.

Tim Peake is to carry out the first ever spacewalk by a British astronaut this Friday (January 15) when he joins colleague Tim Kopra to venture outside the International Space Station to replace a failed voltage regulator.

The two Tims will don their spacesuits and exit the US Quest airlock to replace an electrical box known as a Sequential Shunt Unit (SSU), which regulates voltage from the station's solar arrays.

It is planned that this historic spacewalk will be watched in full on Friday afternoon by an enthralled studio audience and special guests who will be part of the BBC’s Stargazing Live programme, currently based at Jodrell Bank. 

Among the guests will be legendary astronaut Chris Hadfield, who was the first Canadian to walk in space. Chris was an engineer and former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot who also served as commander of the International Space Station.

The Jodrell Bank showcase will form part of the BBC’s live coverage of the spacewalk – and an edited package will be shown later that same evening as part of special programming to mark this memorable occasion, including an additional episode of Stargazing Live.

“Tim will be taking a giant step for British space exploration with this historic spacewalk – and to have Jodrell Bank sharing this experience live is a real milestone as we celebrate our 70th anniversary,” said Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of Jodrell Bank Observatory. 

The planned event will be the finale of the latest series of Stargazing Live, which is hosted annually at Jodrell Bank and returns to BBC Two tomorrow evening (January 12).

Manchester pioneer Professor Brian Cox and TV presenter and science champion Dara O Briain have reunited to present Series 6 of the highly popular science show this week, on BBC 2 starting from 9pm. Dara said Jodrell Bank had now become a “home-from-home” for the Stargazing team.

Among the many highlights of the programme will be marking Jodrell’s 70 anniversary with a special birthday cake and a toast from the show’s presenters and guests.

More information 

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