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Last month a minibus departed Eton, filled with members of the Photographic and Astronomical Societies, on a mission to capture and observe the International Space Station’s transit of the moon.

After a spectacular viewing, described as an ‘exhilarating experience’, we were then very fortunate to meet Cady Coleman via webinar, to hear her adventures and stories. A chemist, retired NASA astronaut and veteran of two space shuttle missions, Cady departed the International Space Station in 2011 as a crew member of Expedition 27, after logging 159 days in space.

Cady shared her extraordinary experiences of shuttle launches, life onboard, and re-entry with fascinating detail. As a passionate flute player, Cady also revealed the challenges of practicing in orbit, including her live performance via video link in honour of the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight in space!

Space is a field that is dominated by predominantly male industries and practices, so Cady also provided a valuable insight to the challenges she faced. The substantial turnout of Eton and partner school pupils demonstrated just how intrigued many are by space, and questions from the virtual audience ranged from future human space exploration and rovers on Mars, to future space law and interplanetary colonisation.

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