Journey into a galaxy far far away: A day with NASA astronaut Brian Duffy

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida encourages UK audiences to visit in order to feel as close to space as possible

Challenge: The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in Orlando, is “where rockets launch and inspiration begins at Florida’s gateway to space”. As the countdown commenced to the UK visit of former NASA Astronaut and veteran of four space flights, Brian Duffy, our mission was to come up with a strategy to deliver stellar broadcast coverage that would encourage British holiday makers to travel to Florida and check out the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Solution: Using the 40th anniversary of Star Wars as our populist hook, we positioned real-life hero, astronaut Duffy as able to talk about how close to reality some of the most iconic cinematic moments in space are and how much of the technology seen in science fiction could someday become science fact.

Since becoming an astronaut in 1986, Duffy has participated in the development of flight crew procedures and the development and testing of displays, along with serving as a spacecraft communicator on numerous space shuttle missions, so he this was the perfect platform for him to deliver excellent radio and the campaign key messages, in an exciting and inspirational tone.

Results: Coverage highlights included talkRADIO, BBC Northampton, BBC Oxford, BBC Lancashire and BBC Devon, where listeners were encouraged to travel to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, to find out all about NASA’s space exploration plans, now and next – including a ‘Journey to Mars’ with simulators and test versions of spacecraft created for deep space exploration – and have lunch side by side with NASA’s astronauts.