Girls’ NASA space centre trip will be out of this world

Staff and students from St Anthonys Girls Catholic Academy are heading to Houston, Texas.
Staff and students from St Anthonys Girls Catholic Academy are heading to Houston, Texas.
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Girls are heading for the stars when they take a trip which will be out of this world.

Budding young astronauts from Sunderland will take off in their bid to learn more about life in space.

They will have many stories to tell

Veronica Taroni

The group of 19 sixth formers and four members of staff from St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy are heading for The Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas.

The centre is home of ‘Mission Control’ and the NASA astronaut training facility neutral buoyancy tank.

During their week-long stay, the girls will spend their time at the Space Centre, working with NASA scientists and engineers on a range of projects.

This will include packing parachutes, rocket design, construction and launch, habitat design, Martian robotic rover design and an astronaut training dive session.

They will have their own Mission Patch designed to reflect the week’s activities and they will also get the opportunity to visit Houston and Galveston Bay, as well as sightseeing at Kemah Boardwalk and The Houston Galleria.

John Witney, head of physics at the Thornholme Road school, said he is very much looking forward to the trip and hopes that this will inspire more girls to consider science as a career.

Veronica Taroni, assistant headteacher and Mission Controller said that the girls will have the experience of a lifetime and will become Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassadors on their return, as they will present an account of their week to the rest of the academy.

She said: “They will have many stories to tell and I am sure one of the highlights will be having brunch with a NASA astronaut, and being able to ask questions about their preparation, training and experiences of going into space.

“We even hope that one day Sunderland may have an ‘Antonaut’ that truly makes it into space.

“It all starts with the ambition as is so ably demonstrated by the amazing success of Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.”