Astronaut Visits


Meet some of the most elite astronauts in the world as they impart the wisdom that they have earned from a life of exploration. Such a visit offers a unique window into the drive and ambition behind their extraordinary lives.

Since ISSET’s opening event in 1998 at Cardiff Castle, we have facilitated visits from an abundance of NASA Astronauts including 4 whole Space Shuttle crews. The first visit featured head of Johnson Space Centre George Abbey, Cosmonaut General and Director of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre Yuri Glazkov, and Bonnie Dunbar, engineer and veteran of 5 NASA space missions. We hosted a live web link with cosmonauts orbiting the earth on the Mir Space Station, a technological feat at the time. The guests visited schools and universities, giving presentations to young people and community leaders across the UK.

More recent events include record-breaking International Space Station Commander Michael Foale’s presentation to children from South Wales at Cardiff City Stadium, and Space Shuttle Commander Ken Ham’s visit which encompassed an Astronaut Leadership Experience along with appearances in schools and universities.



Upcoming Visits

Ken with kids

Mike Foale, November 2016

In November 2016, ISSET will be bringing former NASA Astronaut and International Space Station Commander Mike Foale to the United Kingdom. Mike will be appearing in; schools, colleges, science centres and community centres around the UK, relating from first-hand experience, the amazing adventures of space travel!

The schedule for his visit with ISSET thus far is:

  • Monday 14th Nov - Cambridge University Astronomy Society and Pint of Science
  • Tuesday 15th Nov - Shrubland Street, Leamington Spa
  • Wednesday 16th Nov - Chipping Campden School
  • Thursday 17th Nov - King Edward's Five Ways, Birmingham
  • Friday 18th Nov - XMA Ltd Day at The Ongar Academy
Get in touch with us if you wish to book an astronaut visit to you

Some of the many Astronauts to have visited:

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Mike Foale

Former NASA Astronaut & ISS Commander

Mike is the most experienced British born astronaut in the history of human space travel having flown on 6 Space Shuttle missions, a Soyuz and commanded the International Space Stations.

He was the first Briton to perform a spacewalk, during which he saved the Hubble Space Telescope.

Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly

Former NASA Astronaut

Former astronaut and US Navy Captain. Veteran of 4 space missions, recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the NASA Space Flight Medal. Identical twin of Scott Kelly; both will be a part of future NASA experiments on genetics in space.

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Scott Kelly

NASA Astronaut & ISS Commander

Former International Space Station Commander and veteran of 5 space missions, recipient of 6 NASA medals. Embarking on a 12 month mission to the ISS in 2015.

Identical twin of retired astronaut Mark Kelly.

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Ken Ham

Former NASA Astronaut & Space Shuttle Commander

Ken was the commander of the Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission STS-132 to the International Space Station in May 2010. Additionally Ken's Space experience includes being the Pilot of Space Shuttle Mission STS-124. Ken's Background is as a naval aviator and test pilot.

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Nicole Stott

Former NASA Astronaut

Nicole has completed two NASA space missions. Her first long-duration flight was to the International Space Station, where she spent 91 days in space and enjoyed her first spacewalk lasting 6 hours. While aboard the ISS she helped with vital research and installed new treadmill and maintenance systems.

She returned to space in 2011 on the penultimate space shuttle flight with STS 133 as a Flight Engineer. Throughout her fantastic career she has collected a range of prestigious NASA awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal and Exceptional Achievement Medal, amongst many more.

Ron Garan

Ron Garan

Former NASA Astronaut

Recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the NASA Space Flight Medal, veteran of 4 space missions including Expeditions 27 & 28 to the International Space Station.


Space Shuttle Visits

STS-118

In November 2007, STS-118 astronauts Scott Kelly, Dafydd Williams, Alvin Drew, and Barbara Morgan visited the UK, to speak to school children and inspire them to pursue their dreams and careers in science, technology and space.

The astronauts also promoted human space flight to government, public institutions and the media, to ensure that the future of this cutting edge of human endeavour is supported and accessible to all.

STS-118

In July 2009, the crew of STS-119, visited the UK, to speak to children about science, education and their passion for space, and to promote the goal of human space flight to the UK.

STS-119 was the 28th shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Discovery also carried the S6 truss segment to the orbital outpost.

STS-124

In September 2008, astronauts from the STS-124 Space Shuttle mission visited the UK to speak to school children and inspire them to pursue their dreams and careers in science, technology and space.

The astronauts also promoted human space flight to government, public institutions and the media, to ensure that the future of this cutting edge of human endeavour is supported and accessible to all.

STS-124

In June 2010, ISSET brought the crew of STS-132 to the UK, during which the astronaut crew made visits throughout the country to promote education, particularly in science, mathematics and engineering.

The STS-132 delivered the Mini Research Module-1 that will provide a new docking port and will carry a radiator, airlock and the European robotic arm.

STS-124

In July 2011, ISSET brought the crew of STS-133 to the UK where they visited numerous places, including the UWE in Bristol.

STS-133 Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Steve Bowen, Michael Barratt and Nicole Stott delivered a new module and an external stowage platform to the International Space Station as well as equipment and supplies

Recent Visits

Ken with kids

Astronaut Ken Bowersox - October 2015

In October 2015, ISSET brought American NASA Astronaut Ken Bowersox to the United Kingdom.

Ken is a NASA Astronaut with experience of five Space Shuttle Missions, two as Commander and a long duration space mission as the Commander of the International Space Station.

An Evening with Ken Bowersox will be took place on the 15th October in association with our partners 'Pint of Science'. The event was a chance to come and hear all about space missions with a real NASA astronaut and a former Director of Kennedy Space Center, Jay Honeycutt. The evening also included some exciting presentations from lecturers at King's College, London. Professor Steve Harridge taught us about 'The effect of Space travel on muscles' and Dr. Julie Keeble filled us in on the topic of 'Student experiments on the International Space Station'.

Ken also be led the Astronaut Leadership Experience Programme in the Lake District as part of his visit. This programme took place on 16th - 18th October, 2015.

Ken with kids

Astronaut Mike Foale - March 2015

In March 2015, ISSET brought NASA Astronaut and International Space Station Commander Mike Foale to the United Kingdom once more.

Mike is the most experienced British born astronaut in the history of human space travel having flown on 6 Space Shuttle missions, a Soyuz and commanded the International Space Stations. He was the first Briton to perform a spacewalk, during which he saved the Hubble Space Telescope.

During his visit Mike inspired and motivated people across the UK. He led the Astronaut Leadership Experience Programme in the Lake District 5th - 8th March, 2015

Ken with kids

Astronaut Mike Foale - 18th April 2016

In April 2016, ISSET brought former NASA Astronaut and International Space Station Commander Mike Foale to the United Kingdom.

Mike is a British-born NASA Astronaut. He has been into space on 6 missions. His experience includes; being Commander of the International Space Station (ISS), bringing the Hubble Space Telescope back to life and having a major role in saving the Russian ‘Mir’ Space Station, following the only collision in outer space. Mike has ventured into space with both NASA and the Russian Space Agency.

Mike began his visit from the 18th April, appearing in; schools, colleges, science centres and community centres around the UK, relating from first-hand experience, the amazing adventures of space travel!