Compass International Tours and NASA’s Space & Rocket Centre collaborate to bring space travel experience to UAE students
Dubai, UAE, April 28th, 2015: Well-known American astronaut Dr. Donald Thomas, who holds the world record for the longest stay on board a space station, today began his four-day visit to some of the leading schools in Dubai, to familiarise UAE students about space travel and share experiences of living on a space station.
The initiative is part of a joint collaboration between the UAE-based Compass International Tours and the US Space and Rocket Centre (USSRC), an affiliate of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and allows the region’s students to interact closely with one of the highly acclaimed legends of deep space exploration.
Dr. Donald Thomas is acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on space exploration, having set a world record for spending the longest time on an international space station – a total of 1040 hours in four missions. In 1990, he was selected by NASA as the International Space Station Program Scientist to oversee NASA’s experiments conducted on the International Space Station.
Lissy Donald, Managing Director of Compass International, described the initiative as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students in the UAE to learn from one of the most inspiring space heroes. “We are delighted to be appointed by the US Space and Rocket Centre as the Ambassador to represent them in the UAE region and encourage the younger generation to reach for the stars,” she added. “Dr. Thomas’s visit is the first in a series of many programs that we plan with an aim towards bringing space awareness within easy reach of the region’s students.”
At the same time, Compass will also launch special packages for students aged from 7 to 18 that will allow them to spend two weeks at the US Space & Rocket Centre in Hunstville, Alabama, and closely experience various aspects of the space program such as living in zero gravity, fitness and dietary preparations and other interactive learning methods.
Starting today (April 27th), Dr. Thomas will visit14 leading Dubai-based schools, including Westminster School, Crescent School, Wellington Academy, Cambridge International School, Winchester School, School of Research Science and GEMS Modern Academy. Thomas will address students in each school through a detailed presentation and demonstrations, besides fielding questions from the students.
Thomas will also meet students of other UAE schools on April 29 at a gala dinner planned at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, where they can interact closely with the astronaut and get a chance to win autographed copies of Thomas’ autobiography. To know more about the gala dinner, please call Tom Varughese on 056-2966817 or Sandra Carter on 055-8101169.
Thomas is accompanied by Dr. Deborah E. Barnhart, CEO and Executive Director of USSRC, and Michael Flachbart, Vice-President of Centre Operations at the USSRC. The visit of the three leading officials will also help student from the region, especially those who cannot afford the field trips to the USSRC.
Since opening its doors in 1970, nearly 16 million people have toured the USSRC. Many of the more than 600,000 annual visitors are school students on field trips to their future. Compass International has facilitated the trips of thousands of UAE students to USSRC, Huntsville, in the past couple of years.
Delta Airlines is the official Airline Partner for facilitating the trip of the three senior USSRC officials to the UAE.