THE first UK astronaut to walk in space will land in the North-East next month to inspire a new generation of scientists.

Michael Foale, born in this country and now a dual British-American national, will give a talk at Durham University on Wednesday, May 7 at 6.30pm.

In 1999 he went on an eight-hour spacewalk to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and four years later was commander of the International Space Station Expedition- a six month tour of duty.

The astrophysicist has been on six space shuttle missions and still holds the record- just over 374 days- for the most time in space by a UK citizen.

He left NASA in 2013 after 26 years to work on developing an electric aircraft.

As well as the public lecture, Mr Foale will also visit NETPark, the science park at Sedgefield, and talk to school pupils.

The talk has been organised by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, and Mr Foale’s visit to the UK was arranged by the International Space School Educational Trust and supported by the Institute of Physics.

Simon Goon, managing director of Business Durham, said: “This is a huge coup for County Durham.

“His record speaks for itself and he will be an inspiration to those looking to further an interest in science and technology.”

Visit the website to book a place at the public lecture at Durham University.