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Manx students blast off to space school 6 May 2008

Two Manx students will travel to the NASA sponsored United Space School in Houston, Texas, this summer on a two-week scholarship thanks to a unique programme developed jointly by ManSat Limited, the Isle of Man's space company, and the Department of Education.

The students, Suzanne Thomas from Castle Rushen High School and Daniel Sayle from St Ninian's High School, gained their places at NASA's Space School after winning a competition open to all year 12 students on the Island.

The competition involved writing three essays of between 500 and 1,000 words on space-related themes, which were judged by space industry experts, including a NASA astronaut. ManSat scholarship

'This is the eighth year we've sponsored Manx students for the space school, and once again we've been very impressed with both the quantity and quality of the essays entered into the competition,' said Ian Jarritt, finance director, ManSat Limited.
'Getting an experience like this as a year 12 student can change the entire course of someone's life, and we're glad to work with ManSat to help so many young people in the Isle of Man get excited about space,' commented Education Minister Anne Craine MHK.

The first Manx student attended the school in 2000, and over the years students have talked about how inspiring the experience has been. The programme is focused on human space flight and previous winners have met NASA scientists and astronauts, worked on hypothetical missions to Mars, visited mission control and seen a prototype of the space station submerged in 40 feet of water to create the sensation of weightlessness.

Suzanne Thomas is the first Castle Rushen High School student to win a place at the space school. She is studying physics, maths, history and art A levels and is intent on studying physics and astronomy at a UK university.

'My essays were about the Isle of Man and space; I learned a lot about the Island's space industry. I never dreamt that one day I'd go to NASA. I'm really excited!'said Suzanne.

St Ninian's student Daniel Sayle says that winning the competition will certainly influence his choice of career.

'My essays did not focus on physics; I wrote about geography. The people that went to the moon were planetary geologists…the physicists stayed on Earth to worry about the rockets!'
'To plan for a decade, plant a tree. To plan for a century, educate your children, as the saying goes. The Isle of Man is becoming synonymous with quality education throughout the space industry worldwide, and these latest Manx students represent our future space leaders,' said ManSat Chairman Christopher Stott.
'The Department of Education is working hard to deliver a standard of education that is world class. The Manx Space School students, past and present, are living testament to the superb education given by our Government, an education that puts Manx students at the forefront of this new industry.
'It is our privilege to work with the Department and to help these students. They do all of the heavy lifting. We just help where we can. It’s a tough course they’re heading into, but I know they’ll do well.'

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