A new international education program launched at the 2019 Paris Air Show will reward aspiring young space explorers and their teachers with a hands-on astronaut training experience at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s renowned Space Camp in Huntsville.
The Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship invites students and educators in host communities of major international airshows to compete for an all-expenses-paid week at Space Camp.
The program is named for the Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot and global advocate for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
The new initiative was unveiled by Tom Kallman, president and CEO of international trade show organizer Kallman Worldwide, at the “Tribute to Apollo 50” VIP reception in the company’s Paris Air Show Partnership Chalet.
“The 50th Anniversary of Apollo’s success provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the positive impact that space programs have had on society, and re-emphasize the need for continued support of public and private initiatives dedicated to aerospace exploration and commerce,” Kallman said.
“In partnership with our event partners around the world, industry partners in the United States and the leaders of Space Camp, the world’s premier astronaut training experience, we’re proud to launch the Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship to honor the past and inspire the future of space exploration.”
Sixteen student awards and four teacher awards will be made each year beginning this fall. Participating airshows include Avalon (the Australian International Airshow), Bahrain Airshow, Dubai Airshow, FIDAE (Santiago, Chile), Japan Aerospace, Paris Air Show, the Royal International Air Tattoo and the Singapore Airshow.
Since 1982, Space Camp has provided the next generation of astronauts, engineers and scientists with an immersive program that includes astronaut training and simulated space missions.
Space Camp alumni include NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts, as well as engineers, scientists and technologists around the world.
“The Space Camp experience bonds like-minded space explorers through their training, missions and team experience,” said Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
“Creating lasting relationships among nations is key to living and working in space and to accomplishing mankind’s next giant leap forward. In that same spirit, the Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship heightens connections around the globe to achieve success in space for years to come.”
Endeavour scholarships will be awarded based on merit by select stakeholders in participating air show communities, and reviewed by a Space Camp team that includes Worden.
He will announce the first Endeavour Scholarships this November at the 2019 Dubai Airshow, and plans to visit with scholarship winners during their Space Camp tours.
“When you consider the decades of rigor and discipline it’s going to take to successfully put people from Earth on Mars, and that getting to Mars is just one of the countless engineering challenges we face on our own planet today, we need to pick up the pace,” Worden said.
“The pipeline for STEM talent can handle a lot more volume, and Space Camp is a proven connection.”
Worden was on hand for the announcement, joining Apollo program alumni Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7) and Charlie Duke (Apollo 16), along with representatives of 12 international space agencies and government and military officials.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.