NASA astronaut

Date published: March 17, 2016

Astronaut visit leaves Quays News team over the moon

Shooting stars, the planet Mars and the next generation of space travellers were on the itinerary when a former NASA astronaut visited the University last week.

Dr Don Thomas, who has been on four shuttle missions and spent time on the International Space Station, touched down at our MediaCityUK campus to take part in Quays News: Space Special.

His visit marked the half-way point in British astronaut Tim Peake’s space expedition and gave Quays News viewers the chance to find out more about what life as an astronaut is really like.

Quays News is a student news website full of interesting local stories, videos and packages produced by our students at university and beyond.

The programme was produced by BA Journalism graduate Dan McLaughlin, who is Content Intern of Quays News, and presented by MA Journalism student Maximilian Merrill.

Dan said: “We were in a very lucky position to get an interview with Don before Newsround and BBC Breakfast.

“There was a buzz in the newsroom and every student can take pride in producing such a special programme.

“Quays News is a great training platform for our students and continues to attract leading media personalities.”

Don, who has spent a total of 43 days, 8 hours and 13 minutes in space, even brought some props with him – a pair of Russian spacesuit gloves and some of the dehydrated food that astronauts eat when they’re in space.

Executive Producer Neil Salmon, who leads the Broadcast Technical Team at MediaCityUK, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students.

“They thoroughly enjoyed making an extended Quays News programme, and particularly loved meeting Don and hearing his extraordinary story.

“Quays News continues to be a highly successful cross-programme collaboration which is open to all students at the University.”

The Quays News team also gave children from Didsbury Road Primary School, in Stockport, an opportunity to ask Don some video questions about being an astronaut, which linked in with the topic they are studying as part of the Year 5 curriculum.

Their teacher, Sarah Clapperton, said: “Space is one of the hardest topics for the children to understand properly, as everything is so ‘big’ and far away.

“For them to be able to do something that makes it a little more real and accessible is brilliant.”

You can watch the programme here.

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