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Isle of Man students set for United Space School in Houston

Students from the Isle of Man will visit NASA in Houston later this month to take part in the first United Space School to meet in person since the Covid pandemic began.

Daniel Millward and Michael Behrman, who both attend Castle Rushen High School, and King William’s College student Chalse Cowin will fly to the United States for the two-week Space School, which starts on July 24th.

The year 12 pupils won an annual competition organised by the ManSat Group, which has been sponsoring students to attend the United Space School since 2000.

Houston, We Have Liftoff!

For the last two years, the Space School was held virtually because of Covid, with participants linking up by video. However, this year, students are excited to be able to meet up in person with peers from around the world, when their challenge will be to plan a mission to Mars.

Daniel is studying physics, maths, further maths and music at A-level and has his sights set on a career as a mechanical or aerospace engineer.

He said: “To prepare for Space School I am reading books such as Tim Peake's autobiography Limitless and The Variational Principles of Mechanics, by Cornelius Lanczos, which I hope will further my understanding of spaceflight, and the physics that makes it possible. I have been talking to other students from around the world who are attending this year, learning more about their interests and cultures.

We will be taking part in a culture fair, for which students are asked to prepare a dish native to our country. I'm still trying to figure out if we can somehow get some queenies or kippers in Texas, otherwise we might be making chips, cheese, and gravy!

“I’m looking forward to meeting professionals in the aerospace industry with experience in space exploration and learning how a crewed mission to Mars would be possible. I am also excited to meet and work with other students from around the world who are fascinated by space exploration – and to plan a mission to Mars!

I would like to say a huge thank you to ManSat for providing us with this incredible opportunity, it will be a truly life-changing experience for us all.”

Michael Behrman is studying maths, further maths, computer science and physics.

He said: “I want to study either aerospace engineering or astrophysics at university and my dream is to work for a rocket company like SpaceX or Rocket Lab.

“For preparation for Space School, we have all been set assignments, each on various aspects of a mission to Mars. My favourite assignment was unquestionably the red team challenge which looked at rocket engines and orbital mechanics. These are the kinds of things I am most looking forward to learning about at the school.

“I am thrilled that we are getting to go to Houston in person and would like to thank ManSat for giving us this extraordinary opportunity.”

Chalse is studying higher maths, physics and Spanish, with the aim of studying either astrophysics or geology at university.

Chalse said: “In terms of preparation for the trip, I’ve been completing the assignments we’ve all been set, as well as doing some further reading about the technology required to get to Mars and the geology of Mars, as I think this is going to interest me most.

“Working towards a common goal with people who have a shared interest is something I’m really looking forward to. I’ve already started talking to some of the people who are attending, and I can’t wait to work with them all in Houston. I’d like to offer my thanks to ManSat for creating this fantastic opportunity for Isle of Man students.”

Island Pride and Global Connections

Jennifer Stone, ManSat’s Chief Technical Officer, added: “We are thrilled that the students can attend the United Space School in Houston this year. The virtual Space Schools worked extremely well, but obviously it wasn’t quite the same as being there in person. We are sure Daniel, Michael and Chalse will do the Isle of Man proud, and we cannot wait to follow their adventures.”

The USS scholarships are awarded by the ManSat Group in cooperation with the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC).

Dr Stone said: “We are grateful as always to the DESC, the Island’s secondary schools, and King William’s College for their continued support of our scholarships. The enthusiasm for our annual competition is always welcome and ensures that we continue to have a high number of entries each year.”

Julie Edge, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said: “This is my first experience, as Minister, of the scholarships to the Space School and I look forward to hearing from the students on their return from what I am sure will be an incredible experience. The chance to meet and work with their peers from around the world and NASA scientists is an invaluable experience and I’m sure they will come home with lifelong memories. Our thanks to ManSat for continuing to provide these fantastic opportunities for our Island students.”

Please visit for more information about the Space School and our scholarships page on this website.


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