Our student Constança Quaresma, from class 11 A, participated in the Portuguese Space Agency’s initiative
Our student Constança Quaresma, from class 11 A, participated in the Portuguese Space Agency’s initiative “Astronaut for a day” after a long selection process, from which 31 secondary school students were chosen among 460 candidates. The selection process, which began in March and was divided into four phases, simulated that of real astronauts. Creativity, spatial perception and interpretation, and physical fitness were assessed, culminating in a final interview.
On September 16, she boarded a Novespace A310-0G plane, which took off from Beja air base, to experience, in the first parabolic flight made in Portugal, moments of zero gravity, just like the astronauts in the international space station. It was also possible, in this flight, to simulate the microgravity environment of the Moon and Mars, as well as hypergravity environments.
During the intense process of preparing for the flight, she had the opportunity to meet two astronauts, Jean-François Clervoy, former astronaut and president of Novespace, and Matthias Maurer, an astronaut of the European Space Agency, who had inspiring conversations with the students and encouraged them to follow their dreams.
Constança is one of the ambassadors of the contest “Zero-G Portugal – Astronaut for a day”, having the mission of sharing her experience and spreading this initiative of the Portuguese Space Agency among the educational community, to stimulate interest in space.
Constança said that, as she had hoped, it was an incredible and unforgettable experience and that her effort and perseverance had paid off. She says: “it was surprising how one moment we are aware of our body and movements and the next we are simply floating without direction, which is great fun as you can only hear screams of excitement in the plane”.
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