Wales, America and the Space Race: watch NASA chief's public lecture

George Abbey was NASA's man in Mission Control when the Apollo 13 team radioed the immortal line: "Houston, we have a problem". He chose the space shuttle crews, helped develop the International Space Station, put the first American woman in space, and also made sure a copy of the poems of Dylan Thomas made it into orbit.

Mr Abbey, previously Director of the NASA Johnson Space Centre and now Senior Fellow in Space Policy at the Baker Institute, Rice University, Houston, gave the annual Richard Burton lecture on 25 April at Swansea University.  We were honoured and delighted to welcome him.

George Abbey was born in Seattle.  His mother was from Laugharne, and Mr Abbey has a continued interest in Wales and his Welsh heritage. He is an Honorary Fellow of Swansea University.

Former National Poet of Wales and current Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Swansea University, Gwyneth Lewis, introduced the lecture with a reading from Zero Gravity, an award-winning collection of poems based on the experiences of her Welsh-American cousin, Joe Tanner, who went up in the space shuttle Discovery.