Ollie Awarded European Space Agency Internship

In a great display of ambition, Nexus 11 student Ollie T wrote to a number of International and private Space Agencies around the globe hoping for a weekís placement for his Year 10 Work Experience.

His endeavours were so well received that he was rewarded with the experience of a lifetime. Ollie wrote to NASA, ESA, ULA and SpaceX to name a few. He received an invitation from the European Space Agency (ESA), European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany asking him to join them and began his Internship in July.

The EAC trains and develops the skills required for European Astronauts to fly to the International Space Station (ISS), while preparing for an exciting future of space exploration beyond low Earth orbit as well as focusing on missions and space medicine. The facilities include a full scale mock-up of some of the ISS Modules, a 20m deep Neutral Buoyancy Facility (diving pool) for Spacewalk or more correctly Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Training, as well as a multitude of simulators and classrooms covering every training need possible.

Ollie has had the chance to work alongside many of the most influential people in the industry, including a number of the European Astronaut Corp and the German Space Agency, including his host and British Astronaut Tim Peake. Keen to maximise this once in a lifetime opportunity, Ollie requested to extend his placement a further week to encompass the weekend of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landings, this was agreed immediately.

The journey has taken him from working inside full scale mock-ups of the ISS, to sitting on Command Console with EUROCOM, listening and watching the crews on the ISS, as well as working on smaller projects and delivering lectures on them himself.

During his 2 weeks, Ollie was able to be meet and talk with the team preparing the launch of Italian Astronaut Luca Parmitano, who launched to the ISS on July 20th, coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landings in 1969. Luca Parmitano launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, beginning his six month mission named ëBeyondí. Ollie was then able to observe the Mission Control team supporting the Astronauts on the ISS.

Ollie, who is part of the Gifted STEM Programme at CSIA explained, ìBeing able to have this experience was amazing, to work alongside Astronauts, Medical Teams, as well as many of top people in Europe who train astronauts and make sure they are in peak health!

At the time of this being written Ollie is still out in Germany, having had his internship extended by a third week to further witness the first joint NASA/SpaceX Commercial Astronauts, complete their weekís training at the EAC, as well as NAS who will fly to the ISS in mid-September. During his visit, he has made many vital connections, ensuring links for future employment and internships are within his grasp.

Ollie would like to thank his hosts in Germany: Tim Peake, Mareike Morawietz (Medical Education Coordinator EAC / Internship Coordinator), Ruediger Seine (Astronaut Training Manager) and Martyn Cockram (Astronaut Training Designer). Both Ruediger and Martyn generously hosted Ollie in their homes for the period. In addition, thanks are due to CSIA VI Form for their Mini Scholarship and Connor Downs Residents Association for their grant.

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