Channel 4 is to take a giant leap for broadcasting with a programme aired live from the International Space Station.
Dermot O’Leary will host the show, which promises to take viewers on a 90-minute trip around the world.
High definition images will be sent from 250 miles above the earth as the station orbits the planet at 17,500 miles per hour in Live from Space: Lap of the Planet, due to screen in March.
Professor Stephen Hawking, British astronaut Tim Peake and Hubble Telescope engineer Mike Massimo, will feature on the first of three planned space shows.
Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata will offer an insight into life on the International Space Station, including how gravity affects their working lives and bodies. In another episode, the work of Mission Control will be explored.
Producers are hoping that Lap of the Planet will give a more realistic view of life and troubles in space than disaster blockbusters such as Gravity.
NASA: Space in pictures
NASA: Space in pictures
A false colour image of Cassiopeia A comprised with data from the Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes and the Chandra X-Ray observatory
The Barred Spiral Galaxy (NGC 6217) in the Ursa Minor constellation is pictured in Space
A team of astrophysicists has detected so-called gravitational waves – predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago – which are the first tremors of the Big Bang when time and space began about 13.7 billion years ago
Rex Features/Mood Board
The barred spiral galaxy M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel. The Hubble photograph captures thousands of star clusters, hundreds of thousands of individual stars, and 'ghosts' of dead stars called supernova remnants
Acosmic creepy-crawly known as the Tarantula Nebula in infrared light
A spiral galaxy ESO 373-8 - together with at least seven of its galactic neighbours, this galaxy is a member of the NGC 2997 group
A massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744, according to NASA these are some of the faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected in space
A giant cloud of solar particles, a coronal mass ejection, explodes off the sun, lower right, captured by the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
Current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun
First color image of the Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts in 1968
Fog forming over the the US Great Lakes area and streaming southeast with the wind. A swirling mass of Arctic air moved south into the continental United States
Astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, is shown in the second of two spacewalks designed to allow the crew to change out a faulty water pump on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station
Daniel Glover, head of specialist factual at Channel 4, said: “To have been granted this access by Nasa to the ISS and Mission Control is a true British TV first.
“We hope to show what life on board is really like, what happens when things go wrong and then finally giving viewers a live lap of planet Earth.”
US cable broadcaster National Geographic Channel will simulcast the live programme – the first time that Nasa has granted behind-the-scenes filming of Mission Control.
Presenter O’Leary, best-known for The X Factor, revealed that space has “always held a fascination” for him. “I had to try hard not to revert back to being the 8-year-old kid and the excitement I felt watching the first space shuttle take off in ’81,” he said.
The ISS has been in operation for 15 years, after taking 10 years to make from 135 rocket launches and 200 spacewalks.
Last year, Canadian commander Chris Hadfield recorded a cover version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on board the ISS. He posted the video on YouTube before handing command over to his successor, Pavel Vinogradov, and returning to earth.