Nigel Henbest

Nigel Henbest

Future Astronaut with Virgin Galactic and inspirational speaker on everything thatís literally out-of-this-world!
Inspired by the Apollo landings on the Moon, and by the mysteries of space - black holes, the Big Bang and alien life - Professor Nigel Henbest FRAS has spent his life exploring deep space, and communicating the excitement of the Universe and space travel through books, television documentaries and personal appearances.

Nigel is now signed up as an astronaut with Richard Branson's pioneering spaceline Virgin Galactic. He has already undertaken his astronaut training on the zero-gravity flight ('Vomit Comet') and in the centrifuge for high G-forces.

He's been invited to deliver major presentations around the world, from Australia and China, as well as on cruises including the Queen Mary 2. Nigel also leads tours of major international space centres, from the Apollo Mission Control in Houston to the futurist Spaceport America in New Mexico. And he has travelled to the South Pole with Buzz Aldrin.

Born in Manchester, Nigel grew up in Belfast before studying at Leicester University and researching in radio astronomy at Cambridge. A prolific science communicator, Nigel has penned 40 books and 1000 articles that have been translated into 17 languages. His books include The Space Encyclopedia, The History of Astronomy, The Secret Life of Space, The Guide to the Galaxy, and - most recently - Philips Stargazing 2018.

His 60+ television credits include Space Shuttle Discovery, How the Universe Works and Black Holes. He presented Seeing Stars on BBC World Service, and has been chairman of the BBC Radio 4 science quiz The Litmus Test.

In addition, Nigel has been Astronomy Consultant on New Scientist magazine, Editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association and Media Consultant to the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
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Keynotes

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Virgin Spaceman

Nigel joined the Astronaut Corps of Richard Branson's space company Virgin Galactic in 2009. Since then, he has completed astronaut training in the centrifuge that exposed him to 6 G-forces - without a pressure suit. And he's trained for weightlessness in the Vomit Comet, a plane whose flight simulates zero-G. In this highly illustrated presentation, Nigel tells the inside story of the world's pioneering private spaceline.
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How Russia nearly won the Space Race

When NASAs Apollo 11 crew prepared to blast off for the Moon in 1969, the Russians also had a fully fuelled Moon rocket on the launchpad. Thats how close the Space Race really was. The Russians had an early lead: the first satellite, the first man in space. Nigels insightful presentation tells how and why they fell behind the Americans: it includes rare footage of Russias N1 Moon-rocket exploding.
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To the South Pole - with Buzz Aldrin

Nigel was a member of a select team of 12 explorers who travelled to the South Pole late in 2016, on an expedition led by Moon-walker Buzz Aldrin - who was checking out the place on Earth that most resembles living on Mars. In this talk, Nigel gives a firsthand description what it's like to live in Antarctica and to work in the extreme environment of the South Pole - in the company of the most famous living astronaut.

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