British astronaut Tim Peake is set to take time off on Saturday afternoon to watch England’s rugby test match against Scotland courtesy of a live-stream from the BBC.
Peake is a huge rugby fan who packed an England rugby shirt – and ball – to wear for England’s clashes in this year’s Six Nation’s rugby championship.
Peake, who intends to post tweets about the game, has also recorded a message. He quipped that while space might be considered a “hostile” environment it is not as fearsome as the atmosphere playing against Scotland on their home ground.
“I know that space is a hostile environment, but Murrayfield, for the old Calcutta Cup, that’s a whole different matter, ” he said. “And Scotland has a fire in their belly; you could hear their World Cup rage from up here in space … May the best team win! Come on England!”
The BBC is set to make broadcasting history beaming the match live to the International Space Station, which is in orbit 400km above the Earth.
The signal will be sent from the BBC to the European Space Agency, which will then bounce it on to mission control in Houston and then to the ISS.
“We’ve always tried to push the boundaries of broadcasting at the BBC, and streaming to space is an exciting first for us, ” said Philip Bernie, head of TV sport for the corporation. “We knew Tim was a massive rugby fan and now he can join the rest of the nation watching Scotland v England in the Six Nations.”