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Ground control to Major Tim: The BBC’s beaming Scotland v England live to the ISS

On Saturday, egg chasing goes interplanetary as the BBC prepares to livestream the Scotland vs England game to the International Space Station. 

While BDUK has so far failed to ensure that everyone in the UK can access iPlayer over a fixed line, Major Tim Peake won’t have so much of an issue when it comes to taking in the action from 4:50pm tomorrow. 

The live feed will be delivered by two separate routes. A BBC source said: “We are using two routes to Houston for the distribution of the feed. The first is direct from satellite, received by the European Space Agency, and routed from there to [Space Center at] Houston. 

Related: NASA successfully beams 622Mbps broadband to the moon and back“The second is using BBC Online technology (aka the Internet) to Houston. Both of these will deliver the match live, so there’s resilience. The Internet feed also supports time shifting or viewing on demand should Tim be unable for any reason to watch some or all of the match live.” 

Philip Bernie, Head of TV Sport for the BBC added: “We’ve always tried to push the boundaries of broadcasting at the BBC, and streaming to space is an exciting first for us. We knew Tim was a massive rugby fan and now he can join the rest of the nation watching Scotland v England in the Six Nations.”

Live coverage of Six Nations rugby will remain on free to air channels until 2021. The BBC will show all Scotland, Wales and France home games live while England, Ireland and Italy games at home will be shown live on ITV. It’s currently unknown if any of ITV’s games will be fired up into space for the benefit of Peake and his five fellow astronauts. 

Peake said in a statement: “I know that space is a hostile environment, but Murrayfield, for the old Calcutta Cup, that’s a whole different matter. And Scotland has a fire in their belly; you could hear their World Cup rage from up here in space… May the best team win! Come on England!” 

For everyone else on Earth, coverage of Scotland v England begins at 4:25pm on BBC One and BBC One HD, after France v Italy, which is due to kick off at 2:25pm on the same channels. 


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