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Tim Gregory, a Bristol PhD student has made it to tonight’s final of the BBC show ‘Astronauts’. 

Bristol graduates have gone on to do many things. Engineers, medics, accountants and dentists to only name a few. Leaving the atmosphere, however, is something not yet achieved by any Bristolian. In future years though, this may be changing. Tim Gregory, a Bristol PhD student, has made the final of the BBC’s new competition, “Astronauts. Do you have what it takes?” Beating off 12 other competitors in various space-based challenges modelled on ESA’s real recruitment process, he will star in the final being shown tonight at eight.

The European space agency (ESA) recruits very few applicants; the last few joined in 2007, among them Tim Peake the latest British person to go into space and only 7th of all time from the UK. Due to this very infrequent hiring, the winner of the competition will no get an automatic job with the agency. Nevertheless, with a “referral” from Canadian space pedestrian Chris Hadfield, joining could be a real possibility.

The various challenges have been difficult to say the very least. Among the things Tim has had to do to get to this point includes centrifuge training.  These are designed to spin round so fast they simulate the G-force involved with space flight. At a maximum of 20G, a man weighing 50 kilos would feel a force of close to a tonne. It is a high-pressure experiment in every sense of the word.

Other delights experienced included Hypoxia training, a fancy name for the starvation of oxygen from the body, as well as flying a helicopter with minimal training.

Tim’s achievement is made all the more impressive when you realise the level of attainment and achievement of his fellow competitors. Their skills include a surgeon, a pilot, a quantum physicist and high-level athletes. The high and varied skill level further demonstrates the high bar needed to become a member of the astronaut profession.

Tim who is currently pursuing a PhD in cosmochemistry, his interests apparently quite aligned. He is a self-anointed geek whose knowledge only appears to be surpassed by his passion for all things science and cosmos-related, telling B24/7:

“I’ve always been super interested in science.”

”Everything from clouds, to space, to geology and fossils.”

The final episode of the series is broadcasted tonight on BBC two at eight o’clock. In the final of the six episodes described by the BBC’s synopsis:

“The finalists head to the Shuttle Landing Facility on Florida’s Space Coast as Chris Hadfield probes whether they have considered the risks of the job. They experience weightlessness for the first time as their motor skills are tested at 30,000 feet. In the Florida Keys, they dive down to the Aquarius underwater facility, used by Nasa for training astronauts. They return to London’s Science Museum for the grand finale as Chris and the panel reveal who has what it takes to be an astronaut.”

Tune in to see if Tim ascends to astronaut greatness or if Commander Hadfield picks one of his worthy adversaries.

Will you be watching Tim in tonight’s final? Let us know

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