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Community / Land conservation company and Shetland Space Centre cover cost of attending astronaut job camp for youngsters

CHILDREN will now be able to take part in a virtual ‘astronaut job camp’ hosted from Unst next month free of charge.

Shetland Space Centre, together with land conservation and tourism business Wildland Limited are now covering registration costs for the project, which is led by US-based astronaut teacher Mike Mongo.

Previously general admittance to the camp was going to come with a fee.

Wildland Limited is owned by Anders Holch Povlsen, the largest landowner in Scotland. His net worth is said to be around £4.5 billion.

He has opposed plans for spaceport in Sutherland, and in November it was announced that Wildland’s sister company was investing £1.43 million in Shetland Space Centre.

The inaugural edition of Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Job Camp is geared to 10-12 year olds with a passion for space and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics).

US based space teacher Mike Mongo believes “kid astronauts” could be a thing of the future – and Unst could be a perfect location for a training centre for youngsters. Photo: Rich Johnson

Exceptions on the age limit may be made at the organisers’ discretion.

“We are looking for kids who are interested in STEAM subjects and might want to become a space professional, including perhaps humannaires, the next generation of space explorers,” Mongo said.

“So my message to parents is: if your children are into creative thinking, problem solving, team play and emotional intelligence, get them signed up, they’ll love it.

“And my message to kids is: if you’re excited by space and STEAM and even video games and sports, or even just a little bit interested, get your mum, dad or guardian to sign you up – your registration is paid for.”

Shetland Space Centre CEO Frank Strang said: “We are delighted along with Wildland to be able to support this fantastic initiative by Mike and hope lots of kids sign up for what will be an amazing experience.”

Tim Kirkwood, CEO of Wildland, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for young people to learn about space while having fun and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to help make it happen.”

The camp will be held virtually from 5 to 30 July and in three separate camps there will be space for a total of 180 children from Shetland, Scotland, and around the world.

The two-hour long sessions will be held on Monday and Thursday mornings for children in Scotland, Monday and Thursday afternoons for the rest of the UK and Ireland and Tuesday and Friday mornings for the rest of the world.

The camp will feature professional instructors including SpaceX Inspiration 4 astronaut Dr Sian Proctor, NASA ISS and Space Shuttle astronaut Nicole Scott, and future Mars walker Alyssa Carson.

More details on signing up can be found online.