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UK’s top astronaut Mike Foale touches down at Paisley secondary school

mike foale

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Britain’s most famous astronaut Mike Foale visited a Paisley school on a mission to inspire young people interested in careers in the space industry.

Mike, whose career includes six missions into space and commanding the International Space Station, visited Castlehead High School to deliver a special talk to third year pupils.

mike foale

The pupils got to hear first-hand what it’s like to visit space and also had the opportunity to put their questions to the ex-NASA astronaut.

Mike, who was the first British person to perform a space-walk during which he saved the Hubble Space Telescope, made the visit to launch Mission Discovery Renfrewshire 2015.

The week-long space school will see up to 200 young people working alongside former NASA astronauts, rocket scientists and astronaut trainers to develop experiments to be carried out in space.

The flagship educational programme delivered by the International Space Station Educational Trust (ISSET) also teaches young people NASA leadership, team building and personal development skills.

Mike Foale said: “I think it’s really important that astronauts like myself who have had the great privilege to fly in space and achieve their dreams get the message out about the opportunities for young people when they are in school and to get across that the choices they make now can play a big part in the careers open to them later.”

Ava Wright, one of the third year pupils who got to hear the talk, said: “I thought it was amazing to see a British person who has gone into space. It made me realise that it’s something I could do when I’m older.”

Thomas Crombie, also in third year, said: “It was really interesting to see someone who has been in space and to get their first-hand account of what it’s like.”

Mission Discovery has only been held in Scotland once before, also in Paisley in 2014.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Mission Discovery is one of a range of programmes we are working on to inspire and encourage young people who are interested in careers in science and technology. This was an amazing opportunity for some of them to meet a real life astronaut in person and put their questions to him, making a career in space a much more realistic idea for them. Hearing Mike speak about his experiences was really inspiring and the response from the pupils was fantastic.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Renfrewshire youngsters’ experiment heading for outer space

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Renfrewshire youngsters’ experiment heading for outer space

Six Renfrewshire students are reaching for the stars after hearing their science experiment will be blasted into space and carried out on the International Space Station.

The once-in-a-lifetime prize was their reward for taking part in Mission Discovery Renfrewshire – a week-long space school run by former NASA astronauts.

Mission Discovery winning team

Paisley Town Hall was the venue for the first-ever visit to Scotland of the event, run by a team including former Space Shuttle Commander Ken Ham and his wife Michelle, a former NASA astronaut trainer.

Around 200 local S4 to 6 pupils were split into teams, each mentored by a student from University of the West of Scotland or West College Scotland, and asked to devise a science experiment knowing the winning concept would go into outer space to be carried out for real.

And amid emotional scenes, a delighted winning team of Apollo 12 – who want to test bacteria to help find a cure for the eye condition conjunctivitis – were named as the winners, in a moment captured by a TV crew from STV News.

There was further joy when Michelle Ham surprised the runners-up by announcing that there may be room on the space station for their experiment too.

The winning team are: Ben Herrington, Christopher Withers, Katherine Bogan, Lara Cumming and Olivia Ramsay, plus mentor Callum Mort of UWS.

Mission discovery finale 26

Ben, 15, of Park Mains High in Erskine, said: “The whole thing is just amazing. When we were told we were the winners I almost collapsed – it was really overwhelming.

“Michelle and Ken are such inspiring people – they make you think that anything is possible.”

Ken Ham added: “The whole reason we do these things is for that moment of realisation when the when the winning team is told their intellectual property is going into space. It’s always just a really amazing moment.”

Mission Discovery Renfrewshire was run by the International Space Station Educational Trust, and brought to Paisley by Renfrewshire Council and event sponsors University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland, with additional support from Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and 29 Studios.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan added: “I would like to thank all connected with Mission Discovery and ISSET for being such superb guests.

“They made the whole week an unforgettable one for the young people who took part, and were utterly inspirational figures to be in the company of.

“We want to provide the very best opportunities for our young people and last week they did us proud – the organisers were full of praise for their commitment and the quality and ingenuity of their work.

“The next decade or so opens up massive opportunities in terms of commercial space flight – and with the science and technology industries we already have here in Renfrewshire, this area could be a part of that.

“Ken and Michelle have certainly shown the sky is no limit in terms of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it – and who knows whether the first-ever Scottish astronaut may well have been in that room last week.”

Mission Discovery - Ken and Michelle Ham on stage with top two teams[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][vc_column_text]Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]