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Students from Loughborough College’s pioneering Space Engineering course were captivated by tales of adventure and social media stardom in orbit when they met former NASA astronaut Colonel Chris Hadfield.
The astronaut shot to fame earlier this year when his You Tube performance of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, while he commanded the International Space Station, went viral – with even Bowie himself re-tweeting the video.
In a career including almost 4,000 hours in space Hadfield has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane and was temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting space craft.
Loughborough College first year Space Engineering student Rebecca Healey, 17, said: “It was so exciting to meet Chris Hadfield at the National Space Centre. It was interesting to hear that however incredible his ambitions for space seemed he remained single minded from a young age – and he has gone on to achieve so much.
“It has really strengthened my own resolve. The course I am on certainly gives me lots of opportunities to make it happen.”
Connor Mugglestone, 17, a second year space engineering student at Loughborough College, added: “Inspiring can be a cheesy word but in this case I can’t think of any other word that better fits Chris Hadfield.
“He has had so much success and so many amazing experiences in space but, ironically, is really down to earth. It was great to meet him and to have an astronaut wish us good luck with our space studies!”
The 16+ space engineering programme launched by Loughborough College in association with the National Space Academy combines A-level Maths and Physics with BTEC Engineering, all taught in a space context, and is the first course of its kind in the UK.
Loughborough College plans to build on the success of the course with the country’s first Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering, an 18+ programme of degree-level, work-based learning set to launch in the new year.
Colonel Hadfield has been visiting the UK as part of an international tour to promote his memoir, ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’. The book provides an insight into ‘a lifetime making the impossible a reality’ and aims to teach readers ‘how to think like an astronaut.’