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Astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman visits James Martin Observatory

Retired NASA astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman visited the James Martin Observatory in Foxdale recently, where he met members of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society.

A professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr Hoffman made five space flights between 1985 and 1996, and was part of the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993. During his career, he logged more than 1,200 hours in space and travelled more than 21.5 million miles.

Dr Hoffman was on a cruise and, during the ship’s stop at Douglas, he was entertained on a whistlestop tour of the Island by the ManSat Group, including the visit to the Observatory.

Mike Newby, Chairman of the Isle of Man Astronomical Society, said: “It was great to be able to welcome such an accomplished yet modest astronaut, who played a critical role in rescuing the Hubble Telescope, to our Observatory.

“The Hubble Telescope has provided some outstanding images of our visible universe and has greatly increased our understanding and our place in the universe over the last 33 years. Jeff was able to convey to us the excitement of space travel and the wonder of viewing the stars from space, in a way that we could all relate to.”

Dr Hoffman said: “I was impressed with the observatory and wish that I could have stayed until nightfall to enjoy the beautiful dark skies in that remote corner of the Isle of Man. It’s really impressive how ManSat, a small company on a small island, has made a large impact on global telecommunications. I look forward to a return visit.”

Rachel Beattie, Chief Financial Officer at ManSat, said: “We had a lovely day with Jeffrey, showing him around our Island, and it was wonderful that we could visit the Observatory and give members of the IOM Astronomical Society the opportunity to meet him. Jeffrey has enjoyed such an incredible career and it was fascinating to hear him talk about his time in space."

The IOMAS welcomes guests with an interest in our visible universe and space flight to its monthly meetings at the Observatory in Foxdale. Visit their website – – for details of meetings and special events.


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