Two A-level students who spent a fortnight at the NASA United Space School in August have been praised as being great ambassadors for the island.
Alex Eaton and Christopher Clarke-Halewood, both 17, were awarded scholarships to the Space School at the University of Houston, joining young people from a number of countries.
ManSat sponsors two Manx students attending the programme each year, in conjunction with the Department of Education and Children.
ManSat finance director Ian Jarritt praised the pair, saying: ‘Opinion universally was that you put on a good show and upheld the traditions of the Isle of Man, which have always been good.’
Alex and Christopher attended lectures given by industry experts, astronauts and NASA scientists. They included former NASA astronaut Dr Franklin Chang-Diaz, who is developing a plasma rocket thruster and they got to see where it is being tested.
The students also worked on a future proposed mission to Mars. They were part of a team looking at what astronauts would do once they landed.
Christopher, a student at Castle Rushen High School, described the scholarship as a ‘trip of a lifetime’. He said it was difficult to choose just one highlight but said he had enjoyed making friends with people from around the world.
Alex, a Queen Elizabeth II High School, said: ‘The Isle of Man has so many opportunities in this sector it’s good to see how we relate compared with the rest of the world.’
He said it made a nice change that people at Houston had heard of the Isle of Man.
In November, Mr Jarritt will go into secondary schools to promote the scholarship for 2014. Candidates write three essays on space topics, which are assessed by NASA representatives.
The first student to attend, sponsored by ManSat, was in 2000.
From 2001-2006, one year 12 student (ages 16-17) was selected each year. Since 2007, two students have made the trip each year.