NASA astronaut to run summer project with Merthyr high school


The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) is a registered UK charity that was founded in 1998. The aim of ISSET is to utilise space exploration to inspire and motivate young people to believe that they can become what they want to be. ISSET seeks to instil an appreciation of what humans can achieve and encourage young people to make something of themselves, particularly in the careers and study in STEM areas.

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Around 400 secondary school pupils from South Wales will attend a one-off summer school lead by NASA astronaut Steve Swanson. The Mission Discovery programme will celebrate the sciences, and the renowned engineer will team up with Bishop Hedley RC High School in Merthyr Tydfil to let pupils spacewalk in an astronaut's shoes, according to Wales Online.

Steve Swanson, a native of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, arrived back on Earth in September 2014 after 169 days in space. He will be travelling to South Wales in order to share his rare insights and experiences with science-hungry teenagers. Also joining Mr Swanson in the project will be a team of scientists and engineers from across the world.

Supported by the Welsh government’s Schools Challenge Cymru initiative, pupils will work together in teams to design their own scientific devices, with the winning team’s product being built and launched for astronauts to conduct on their behalf.

The Mission Discovery programme is being spearheaded by the Penarth-based International Space School Education Trust (ISSET). The aim of the project is to promote scientific understanding in pupils, as well as develop personal development skills, such as leadership and team building.

We are delighted that ISSET have agreed to run their Mission Discovery programme in South Wales,” said Bishop Hedley headteacher Maureen Harris. “The programme will provide students from across the region with a unique opportunity to engage in real life research and gain extensive skills that they can take with them through to their chosen career.”

ISSET director Chris Barber said: “Mission Discovery gives ordinary young people the chance to do something extraordinary. We are incredibly pleased to be enabling such amazing opportunities for school students in South Wales.

“We developed the programme to help young people learn how to be scientifically creative and to increase their ability to work together. Hopefully the Mission Discovery students can go on to achieve something that is truly out of this world.”

The South Wales Mission Discovery programme, involving pupils aged 14-18, will take place from 6th - 10th July.

To read the full story, visit the Wales Online website.

[Photo by Dmitry Lovetsky/AFP/Getty Images]

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