Tim Peake became the first official British astronaut when he launched to the International Space Station in December. Now, as he floats 250 miles above the Earth, he gets to take part in another first for the UK. On Saturday the BBC will beam its first ever broadcast to the ISS — the Six Nations rugby championship game.
The BBC will send the broadcast signal to the European Space Agency, which will relay it to NASA in Houston, and from there the match will make its journey skyward to the ISS over a 25Mbps uplink. There, Peake can watch it with an HD projector and a 65-inch screen.
ISS dwellers actually have a decent media setup
While it's a first for the BBC, the ISS has played host to all sorts of live broadcasts in the past: Super Bowls, baseball games, and the World Cup have all been beamed up before. Big movies — especially space-themed ones — have (practically) simultaneously premiered on the space station as well.
That begs the question — why is the BBC just starting now? Was Scott Kelly not dying to watch Top Gear lineup's last show in real time (even though Jeremy Clarkson is a total ass)? You mean to tell me none of the crewmembers of Expedition 10 or 11 demanded to see Dr. Who return from a nine-year hiatus? Us terrestrial humans may never know.
Correction: This article originally listed Downton Abbey as a BBC show. The article has been changed to reflect that it is not.