First Singaporean to fly into space in 2015
In celebration of Singapore's golden jubilee next year, the Science Centre Board, Singapore Space and Technology Association, and local high-tech energy solution firm, IN.Genius have got a big ambition - to launch a Singaporean into space! Of an initial list of 126, only 26 were short-listed for further training.
Of these 26 includes 20 SIA pilots, 1 Singaporean who had conquered Mount Everest, 2 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduates, a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the United States and a 15-year-old Tanjong Katong Girls' School student.
Their road leading to the a chance to be launched into near space will be challenging. They face gruelling trainings such as para-jumping and a helium balloon pilot course to be able to withstand the intense conditions of near space travel.
For example, the pilot would need to spend 5 to 10 hours in flight in a pressurised capsule.
As training progresses, only 1 will be selected to represent Singapore as the very first citizen of the city-state to see the world at more than 20km above sea level.
The vessel for this historic event will be a helium stratospheric balloon much like the one flown by Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner during his successful attempt to become the first man to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle amongst other records.
Exact plans to execute the launch are still being worked out - ideas include launching the craft from a platform in the middle of Marina Bay or from a ship in the South China Sea before landing at Sentosa.
While the project is currently funded privately, organisers still hope to secure backing from the government, which is encouraged as this will show that the government is willing to back the dreams of its citizens, especially those that brings them to a greater frontier.
Whatever may be, Singapore's 50th birthday would certainly be something to remember!