By Shaira Panela / TJD, GMA News- After making significant contributions to the field of space exploration, the Philippines may now finally make its mark on space itself: a private company has announced an undertaking to select and train the first ever Filipino astronaut.
Men’s personal care brand Axe is teaming with American space travel agency Space Expedition Corp. (Space XC) in a global project to send civilians to space.
“The program we’ve launched is an opportunity for our great nation to join the global community in taking the next big leap. We’re very excited to meet the first Pinoy astronaut. It could be anyone,” said Axe brand manager in the Philippines Gem Laforteza.
Dubbed “Axe Apollo Space Academy (AASA),” the marketing campaign involves a selection process to determine who the “First Filipino Astronaut” would be.
Initially, 10,000 people who sign up for the mission at www.AxeApollo.com will be invited to go through a series of challenges.
The two candidates found most fit will then undergo training at the Axe Apollo Global Space Camp in Orlando, Florida.
“After spending some time in space camp, one of the two Filipino representatives will be handed the mission to go where no Filipino has gone before,” Axe Philippines said.
Filipinos in NASA
While this may be the first time for a Filipino to go into space, Pinoys have long been making their mark in space exploration.
In fact, Filipinos play key roles in various space-related projects and missions in NASA.
Some of the Filipino achievers working in the most well-known space agency are Filipino-American engineer Gregory Villar, and Lloyd Manglapus. Both are working in various capacities on the Mars mission Curiosity rover.
Another Pinoy in NASA, Dr. Ralph Basilio, is the lead person behind NASA’s carbon dioxide research in space.
PHL Space Agency
Meanwhile, on Dec. 14, 2012, scientists and astronomy advocates united to push for the establishment of a Philippine Space Agency.
The proposed space agency “intends to conduct studies on space science and technologies, design, and develop satellites that will be launched in space, and possibly train astronauts,” according to an earlier report.
The country used to have a research project with NASA in the 1990′s but turned out to be unsuccessful, according to the report.
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