NASA trip of a lifetime

Four very lucky students from Banbury Aspirations Campus Sixth Form have earned the opportunity to visit NASA in America. They take off on 13th February and return on 22nd February. Here are their impressions of the selection process.

The NASA selection experience by Soniya, maybe future Astronaut and Sixth Form student.
The journey of selection was full of excitement and suspense. The thought of being able to go to America and visit NASA has always been my dream and now that I have this opportunity I feel delighted to be able to take part. There were 12 of us at the beginning and only 4 for us could go; it was difficult to make any predictions as each of us was equally passionate to visit NASA. We had to write a letter describing why we should be selected and then, as a team, had to raise funds through cake sales to demonstrate our ability to raise money.  We would eventually need to raise funding for the trip of about £10,000. After 2 weeks, we had to go through an intensive interview process for around 30 minutes describing what we were planning to do for our fundraiser and why we should be selected to go to NASA. After a few weeks, I got an email saying I was one of 4 people who was selected! I had to apply for a Visa as I am not a UK citizen as Nepal is not in the countries where an ESTA visa could be provided for their citizens.

I tried to email different companies asking for donations, some very generous companies did get back to me but some didn’t. We raised funds through donations from teachers and parents while providing tea and coffee for parents’ evenings and during the sixth form open evening. We did VR sessions during the Santa Fun Run and had meetings with Mr Sterland about the other ways we could raise funds. We had a meeting with Mrs Barringer explaining about our schedule and what are we expecting during the visit. I am really looking forward to this trip especially going to Houston and visiting Mission Control. I am also really excited about getting to talk with employees working at NASA. This is a really brilliant opportunity and I am really grateful to be a part of the  NASA team.

The NASA selection experience by Toben, Sixth Form student.
The NASA trip had a relatively challenging selection process. We had to write an essay using the questions we were presented with by answering them in detail as honestly as possible. On average, it took us approximately 30 minutes, which I think we can all agree were the most nerve-wracking 30 minutes of the process. We then had to wait for the group of teachers and staff members to decide who was the best choice for the trip.

Insomnia, fear, and 30 minutes of doom were all worth it in the end though. I now have a trip to the world-famous facilities, that were used in accomplishing one of the greatest feats of human discovery: Apollo 11, to look forward to. I am looking forward to the tours of the site because it’s amazing to see the equipment they use for space travel, even if some of it is a bit retro. I am also looking forward to talking with some of the staff who work at NASA, they contribute to allowing humanity to achieve what was previously thought to be impossible, and are working in positions that most people struggle to achieve, which I personally think is quite amazing.