A RECORD-BREAKING British-born astronaut will be giving a talk as part of the celebrations to launch a new space zone at Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

NASA astronaut, Michael Foale, 61, the most experienced British-born astronaut in the history of human spaceflight, is presenting an exclusive live talk and Q&A about his career and life in space at the centre at Morn Hill on Tuesday July 17.

An Evening with Michael Foale is part of the Science Centre’s celebrations to highlight the official launch of Explorer: Space, a brand new 600m2 interactive space zone that opens in time for the summer school holidays.

Michael Foale CBE had a 26-year career at NASA, where he went on six space missions and logged more than 374 days in space, 11 hours and 19 minutes, including four spacewalks totalling 22 hours and 44 minutes.

Mr Foale was born in Lincolnshire, to a British father and American mother, and after studying Astrophysics at Cambridge, he left the UK to pursue his dream of going into orbit by joining NASA. This required him to become a US citizen.

One of Mr Foale’s missions had him onboard the Russian space station, Mir, when it was hit by a visiting cargo ship in 1997. He helped to re-establish the stricken Mir after it was degraded by the collision and depressurised; he went out and conducted a six-hour extravehicular activity (EVA) with a Russian colleague to inspect the damage to the station’s Spektr module.

He is still the only NASA astronaut to fly extended missions on both Mir and the International Space Station. He was the first Briton to walk in space.

“We’re hugely excited to welcome Michael Foale to the Science Centre,” said Ben Ward, chief executive of Winchester Science Centre.

“This is a rare opportunity to meet and pose questions to a British-born NASA astronaut, who has had an incredible career.

“Michael’s unique insights and experiences in space are sure to be fascinating and thought-provoking with regard to our place in the universe. It’ll be an unforgettable evening for any space enthusiast.”

In addition to the live presentation and Q&A, there is the opportunity to take photos with Michael Foale and be one of the first to climb onboard Explorer: Space before it opens to the public.

The event also includes a 360˚ domed screening of the planetarium show Faster Than Light, narrated by Sean Bean.

An evening with Michael Foale takes place on Tuesday 17 July in the planetarium at 7.15pm.

For more information or tickets visit the Winchester Science Museum website.