An expert team of former NASA astronauts and scientists are set to repeat their mission of inspiring Renfrewshire’s young people in 2015.

Mission Discovery, a five day exclusive space school led by a team including former Space Shuttle Commander Ken Ham and former NASA astronaut trainer Michelle Ham, will return to Paisley next year.

The programme, run by International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, was held in Paisley Town Hall in July and was attended by 160 S4, S5 and S6 Renfrewshire school pupils, as well as students from University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland who were the two main sponsors of the programme.

This was the first time this internationally successful educational programme had been brought to Scotland.

Students worked in teams to develop experiment ideas to be carried out in space as well as learning NASA teambuilding, personal development and leadership skills.
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The delighted winning team of Apollo 12 – who want to test bacteria to help find a cure for the eye condition conjunctivitis – were named as the winners with their experiment now set to be carried out on the International Space Station.

Mission Discovery was brought to Renfrewshire as part of Renfrewshire Council’s aim of establishing the area as a centre of excellence in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “Mission Discovery was a once in a lifetime opportunity for budding young scientists in Renfrewshire to not only meet but work alongside experts of the highest level in space travel, research and training.

“This experience is invaluable for young people interested in sciences and with the space industry one of the fastest growing areas in the UK this initiative is an excellent opportunity to lay the foundations for future careers in this field.

“It’s been a major success this year and I am delighted to be able to bring Mission Discovery back to Renfrewshire next year to allow even more local young people to take part in this amazing programme. We are also working with our partners in University of the West of Scotland, West College Scotland and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce on a range of other initiatives to further enhance the studies of science and business for our pupils.”