CORK Toy show star Adam King is set to make a return to the small screen on Christmas Eve following a trip to the National Space Centre.
The six-year-old space fanatic-who captured hearts after launching a rocket with TV presenter Ryan Tubridy-was given an exclusive tour of the National Space Centre (NSC) while filming for the Cork Nativity airing on RTÉ One.
Adam from Killeagh travelled to Elfordstown Earthstation near Midleton to record a Christmas message with a difference. Complete with his Late Late Toy Show Christmas jumper and Santa hat, Adam filmed the segment against the backdrop of an illuminated 32-meter radio astronomy dish.
With his dad David King and his brothers Danny (13) and Robert (8) in tow, Adam was granted special access to the NSC with a guided tour by CEO Rory Fitzpatrick. The tour included the Ops Centre located in the round room below the dish. Here the family learned about the NSC’s maritime observation, space communications and extra-terrestrial audio tracking. The boys also had some hands-on fun with NSC space memorabilia including a test flight helmet from the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
NSC CEO, Rory Fitzpatrick spoke of his experience with the King family.
“Right now, Danny wants to be an astronaut and Adam wants to be a CapCom, the astronaut on Earth who communicates with the crew members in their spacecraft,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to talk about how satellites and ground stations like Elfordstown facilitate extra-terrestrial communication, and the different kinds of space industry careers Ireland offers.”
The family even got to sample special ice cream enjoyed by astronauts.
The NSC is Europe’s most westerly teleport and Ireland’s only commercial ground station. It provides commercial broadcast services, ground control support for satellites and spacecraft, academic research partnerships and space industry consulting.
The show will be broadcast after an eventful couple of weeks for Adam. In recent days he received fan mail from none other than An Taoiseach.
Micheál Martin praised the six-year-old in a letter describing him as an inspiration.
"In my speech to the county on Friday night, I thanked Ireland's children for their strength and for the way you have all coped with Covid," he wrote.
"I could not believe that just a few hours later the country would see such a perfect example of that strength on the Late Late Toy Show. Your virtual hug and your obvious kindness made the point better than I ever could. You are an inspiration Adam. Thank you so much for the strength that you will have given to everyone watching."
He also encouraged Adam to pursue his dream of one day working for NASA.
See Adam and the Big Dish on The Cork Nativity airing on RTÉ One, Christmas Eve at 9 PM.