ISSETs LIVE Link-up with Astronaut Scott Kelly, aboard the International Space Station

Last Wednesday, a sold out audience of 500+ people at the Greenwood Theatre, King’s College London were lucky enough to be part of a live video conference and Q&A with Astronaut Scott Kelly, from aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The momentous evening was hosted by record-breaking Astronaut Mike Foale, along with director and founder of ISSET, Chris Barber and Professor of Human & Applied Physiology at King’s College, London, Steve Harridge. The event was held by ISSET in partnership with Pint of Science and took place during our week long ‘Mission Discovery‘ Space & STEM programme.

ISS Link Up

Chris and Steve opened the night by touching briefly on Chris’ time spent with Scott prior to his launch in March earlier this year. Before long, the nod was given by Houston Mission Control to begin the video link up with the ISS. Scott appeared on screen evoking a roaring applause, but the audience were left hanging in suspense in the following moments as there was no reaction or response from him. Houston, unfortunately, had a problem.

We knew that Scott would be unable to see us on the ISS, but there seemed to be a fault with the sound. After some cutting silence, Scott reached for a second mic and, much to everyones relief, his voice was beamed through to the theatre, receiving an even greater applause. We had made contact with the Space Station. The video conference was now underway and it was a very exciting realisation.

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Director of ISSET Chris Barber asked Scott about a conspiracy theory that his twin brother Mark Kelly is actually on the ISS and not him, to which he replied:

“Well Chris…I’m pretty sure it’s me.”

The humour continued throughout the talk. When answering a question about food taste in space, Chris added that Mike Foale had been for a nice dinner earlier that evening, which produced a big smile on Scott’s face.

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Many great questions were asked during the evening, but perhaps the most poignant of all was “Has being in space changed your perception of life on Earth?” Scott answered that two things come to mind:

“One that the Earth doesn’t look all that big. There are no political borders that you can see, so it makes it seem like everyone’s kind of a citizen of one planet – planet Earth, versus any particular country. The second thing is that the atmosphere that keeps us alive is actually very thin and should be protected.

The link-up ended in style with Scott somersaulting backwards in the weightless microgravity environment to masses of applause. It was a truly memorable evening for all.

Scott is spending one year in space on the International Space Station. He and Russian astronaut Mikhail Korniyenko have been there since 27 March 2015 and the goal of the year-long expedition aboard the orbiting laboratory is to understand better how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

You can watch the full video conference below:

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Congratulations to the winning team at King’s College, London Mission Discovery

Congratulations to the winning team at Mission Discovery ‪#‎STEM‬ summer school at King’s College London last week. Team ‘Icarus’ won with their experiment idea to test if electricity generating bacteria, once taken to a microgravity environment, will increase either the rate or amount of electricity generated when compared with the same process on Earth.

King 2015 Winning Photo med

Their experiment will be launched to space in the coming months, along with the winning experiments from this years other programmes in Scotland and Wales.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved in this years Mission Discovery programmes and we look forward to working with you all again in the future.

Our next destination is Caerphilly, South Wales in October 26th – 30th, 2015.

Waving the Expedition 43 Crew off

The launch of Expedition 43 has occurred, and it was a success. We had the privilege of being there to wave the crew off.

This is Chris' VIP pass for the Expedition 43 launch.

This is Chris’ VIP pass for the Expedition 43 launch.

Chris outside the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Centre where Scott and his crew have been housed in quarantine.

Chris outside the Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Centre where Scott and his crew have been housed in quarantine.

The following video is of the crew departing for the launch centre. Very exciting times and we were really glad to have the opportunity to see this.

Cosmonaut Avenue of Trees

At the Baikonur Space Centre there is an avenue of white oak trees where each tree has been planted by a cosmonaut or astronaut who has been launched into space at Baikonur.

The Cosmonaut Avenue of Trees

The Cosmonaut Avenue of Trees

Chris and former director of Johnson Space Center visited the avenue today.

Chris and George at the tree planted by Yuri Gagrin on 12th April 1961 when he became the first human to journey into space.

Chris and George at the tree planted by Yuri Gagrin on 12th April 1961 when he became the first human to journey into space.

Chris and George at the tree planted by their great, now departed friend and colleague, Cosmonaut General Yuri Glaskov.

Chris and George at the tree planted by their great, now departed friend and colleague, Cosmonaut General Yuri Glaskov.

This is the tree planted by Scott Kelly in October 2010 on his first mission to be Commander of the Space Station. We'll have to ask him why he planted a Bonsai tree.

This is the tree planted by Scott Kelly in October 2010 on his first mission to be Commander of the Space Station. We’ll have to ask him why he planted a Bonsai tree.

Expedition 43 Space Station Crew Press Conference

Today we had the pleasure of being a part of the Expedition 43 press conference. The room was really crowded, with press from all over the world in attendance.

Expedition 43 Press Conference

Expedition 43 Press Conference

All the astronauts seemed relaxed and very confident. When Scott was asked about not seeing his brother for a year he joked, “In the past I have gone longer than that without seeing him and it was great.”

Expedition 43 Crew.

Expedition 43 Crew.

Chris Barber at the Expedition 43 Press Conference

Chris Barber at the Expedition 43 Press Conference

Lunch in a Yurt in Kazakhstan

In a traditional Yurt in Kazakhstan we had a great lunch. The meal was traditional Kazakh soup and shashik. During the lunch, we heard from a number of people and the conversation was really interesting.

Randy Bresnik describing his Space Shuttle mission

Randy Bresnik describing his Space Shuttle mission

Astronaut Mike Finke telling us about being on the International Space Station.

Astronaut Mike Finke telling us about being on the International Space Station.

In addition to hearing from astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mike Finke, Sarah Brightman introduced herself to described the challenge of mastering Cosmonaut training. She talked about how inspired she was by the moon landings and how intense the training was.

Sarah giving us an insight into cosmonaut training.

Sarah giving us an insight into cosmonaut training.

The Yurt team included three astronauts including Scott’s brother Mark Kelly, a space centre director, a world famous performer and cosmonaut trainee, a script writer, a computer scientist, a doctor and more.

The Yurt Team.