The University of Exeter boasts a space station astronaut

  • By Jonathan Morris & George Thorpe
  • BBC News, Devon

image source, Dr. Mike Barrett

image caption,

Dr. Mike Barrett shows off his Exeter T-shirt worn days before takeoff from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The astronaut's colleagues, who teach at a UK university, said it was a „wonderful honour” to see him on the International Space Station (ISS).

American Dr. Mike Barrett, pilot of the Crew-8 mission, teaches space medicine at the University of Exeter.

„We couldn't ask for more and the university is incredibly proud,” said fellow professor Mark Hannaford.

Professor Hannaford said Dr Barrett, who has taught at the university for 14 years, was „a god in space medicine”.

image caption,

Dr. Barratt and crew were welcomed to the space station

Professor Hannaford said insights into the loss of muscle mass and bone density would be vital for missions to the Moon and Mars.

„He's passionate about it, and we couldn't have anyone to do it better,” he said.

image caption,

Pilot Dr Barratt is the second crew member to spend six months on the ISS

„There was an element of crossing fingers,” he said.

„We are very grateful that everything went smoothly and we are very happy for Mike.”

He said the launch was „mind-blowing” and it was „amazing” to see the reusable rocket land.

„I know Mike has been looking forward to this, it's the culmination of years and years of work,” he said.

„He'll be happy as Larry.”

Dr. Barrett and crew will be on the space station for six months, joining the seven-person crew currently on the space station, NASA said.

The orbiting observatory is about 250 miles (420 km) above Earth.

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