The UK Space Race

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Science Documentary hosted by Pete Lawrence and Chris Lintott and Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Danielle George, published by BBC broadcasted as part of BBC The Sky at Night series in 2023 - English narration

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Image: The-UK-Space-Race-Cover.jpg

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The Sky at Night team investigates the incredible science and engineering helping the UK to blast into space. We are now one of the biggest satellite building nations in the world, and the race is on to be the first company to successfully launch a rocket into orbit from British soil. Chris visits Skyrora, a rocket company near Glasgow, to find out how rockets are built and why launches so often go wrong. Skyrora are planning their first orbital launch later this year; Chris learns how each stage of their rocket is designed for a successful lift-off. Maggie is given a sneak preview of the brand new National Satellite Test Facility. Until now British-built satellites have been shipped abroad for the final tests of whether they can withstand the harsh environment of space. But this is all about to change with the opening of the huge NSTF. Maggie sees how a satellite up to 7,000kg will be vibrated to simulate launch conditions. She steps inside the vacuum chamber where they will be exposed to extreme temperatures. And she sees the construction of the enormous EMC, where communication signals can be tested in secret. A result of the rapidly expanding space industry is that nearly 900 objects have been launched into space in the last year. Chris meets Professor Andy Lawrence to talk about the impact this is having on astronomy and the images captured by telescopes such as Hubble. Another key issue is space debris – shrapnel from defunct missions and missile tests. Astronomers are currently keeping track of more than 23,000 pieces of debris larger than 10cm, and this space junk poses a danger to new satellites as well as the astronauts on board the ISS. Radio astronomer Professor Danielle George visits Clearspace, a company hoping to solve the space junk problem with technology designed to gently capture this debris in orbit. And our in-house stargazing expert Pete Lawrence shows us why June is a great month for solar observing as well as the summer asterisms.

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  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4.1
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 21 (~3617Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Audio Bitrate: 128Kbps CVBR 48KHz (206Kbps peak)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 29 mins
  • Number of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 785 MB
  • Source: HDTV (1080i/h264 3990Kbps VBR 979MB)
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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