Blast off for mission discovery in Ayrshire

The Mission Discovery teams.
The Mission Discovery teams.

The International Space School Educational Trust’s (ISSET) Mission Discovery Ayrshire 2017 programme began on Monday 19 June for around 150 secondary school pupils and college students.

The participants of the educational programme are working in mixed teams to design a suitable experiment to be tested at the International Space Station in 2018.

Michael Foale CBE and Sarah Murray.

Michael Foale CBE and Sarah Murray.

This incredible opportunity has been made available for Ayrshire College students and East, North and South Ayrshire secondary school pupils as a result of the Ayrshire College Foundation’s sponsorship.

Local aeronautical businesses NATS and the Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport are also sponsors.

The Ayr Rotary Club will sponsor additional activities scheduled on Friday, which will involve S3 and S4 pupils in the Mission Discovery Ayrshire programme for the first time, acting as a taster session ahead of full participation in future programmes.

The ISSET team delivering the programme consists of: Michael Foale CBE, former NASA astronaut; Sarah Murray, NASA HQs Council Executive / Mission Support for Partnership Councils; Julie Keeble, Chief Scientist at ISSET and Chris Barber, Director at ISSET.

Michael Foale CBE is the most experienced British-born astronaut in the history of human spaceflight and the first Briton to perform a spacewalk. He was recently inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Tracey Stark, Chair of the Ayrshire College Foundation, said “The Mission Discovery programme provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for Ayrshire pupils and students to engage with NASA leaders.

“We hope this year’s group enjoy the experience as much as last year’s. The prize on offer to the winners at the end of the week is truly exceptional - last year’s winning team had their experiment taken to the International Space Station and work commenced earlier this month.”

Michael Foale CBE said “I’m delighted to be back in Ayrshire, I’m really impressed with the students so far and I’m sure they’ll deliver some great experiments to send to the International Space Station.”