Manx students return to NASA school in Texas

By Paul Hardman   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 29th September 2022 7:15 am
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(Left to right) Chris Stott, Julie Edge , Daniel Millward, Chalse Cowin, Michael Behrman and Rachel Beattie ()

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Isle of Man students who took part in this summer’s United Space School (USS) in Houston, Texas, have been presented with certificates marking their achievement.

Daniel Millward and Michael Behrman (Castle Rushen High School) and Chalse Cowin (King William’s College) spent two weeks in the US after winning the annual space school scholarships awarded by the ManSat Group.

The were tasked with planning a manned mission to Mars, working alongside peers from more than 20 countries with support from NASA astronauts, engineers and scientists.

Daniel is studying physics, maths, further maths and music at A-level and wants to be an aerospace engineer.

He said: ‘We were fortunate enough to be able to meet some incredible people such as Chris Hadfield, who served as commander of the International Space Station, Dr Robert Zubrin, who contributed massively to the Mars Direct proposal, and Dr Harold J White who spoke to us on warp drives and their current development.

‘We were also able to visit the neutral buoyancy lab which contains full-scale mock-ups of ISS modules and payloads which are used for training astronauts for EVA (extra vehicular activity) tasks for upcoming missions.

‘Another highlight was the space school culture fair where we cooked chips, cheese, and gravy which went down a storm, although singing the Laxey Wheel in matching SuperManx T-shirts was a bit of a culture shock for some of the international students’.

Chalse is studying higher maths, physics and Spanish with the aim of studying either astrophysics or geology at university.

He said: ‘Space school was an incredible experience for me. I learnt so much about the space industry, about what I want to do in the future, and I met some amazing people.

‘Living with an American host in Houston was a completely new experience, and really helped us settle into life living in Texas, which was very different to life in the Isle of Man.

‘We were given a tour of a Saturn V rocket and a history of the Apollo programme by George Abbey, former director of the Johnson Space Center.

Michael is studying maths, further maths, computer science and physics.

He said: ‘I had the greatest time in Houston. The friendships I made will last forever and it was amazing to meet people from all around the world. The instructors and professionals that we were lucky enough to meet really made the whole experience, such as Chris Hadfield, Glen Johnson and Francesco Fusco.

‘The main highlights included seeing a used Falcon 9 booster and a real Saturn V and getting to see real hardware that has flown in space.

It was the first time in two years that students were able to travel to the school to attend in person, with it having been held virtually during the pandemic.

Year 12 students (ages 15-16) are eligible for the 2023, with more info at www.unitedspaceschool.org and www.mansat.org for scholarship info.

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