Set your goals high, achieve them, then aim even higher

Bulgarian students talk live with astronauts from the International Space Station

Bulgarian students talk live with astronauts from the International Space Station

“Hello Space! Bulgaria/EU Calling” aimed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to dream big and aim higher

On 26 July astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet answered questions from 32 Bulgarian children as part of the educational space conference “Hello Space! Bulgaria/EU calling”. The in-flight downlink from the ISS was a historic event, broadcasted in multiple locations across the country. The different locations were home to a one-day space-themed festival consisting of STEM-related workshops.

The questions that the children asked the astronauts were selected in a contest and they ranged from simple things like: “How do you celebrate birthdays in Space?” to more complex topics like: “Does the Artemis program plan to research and develop the extraction of minerals, such as Helium-3, on the Moon  and apply their usage back on Earth to maintain the ecological balance of our planet?”

hello space Group photoGroup photo of all the children that had a chance to ask their questions to the Astronauts,
Source: The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria

“Hello Space! Bulgaria/EU Calling” was a project of the U.S. Embassy in Sofia and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria. It is the result of years of dedicated work for a single purpose: help Bulgaria find a new place for itself among the stars.  

Set your goals high, achieve them and then aim even higher

There is nothing that sparks the collective imagination of humanity quite like Space. Being the last frontier and the subject of many popular works of fiction, it holds a certain kind of mysterious potential for the future, what with the countless planets and galaxies never seen by human eyes.

At the same time, it is hard to imagine yourself ever travelling to Space, as such voyages are usually reserved for a very select few. The last couple of generations have not had their ‘walk on the Moon’ moment, so Space seems very distant, indeed. And this is what this event hoped to change.

Tatyana Ivanova from Dobrich is a medalist from Space Camp Turkey 2019
who wants to become the first Bulgarian Woman in Space. 
Source: The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria on Facebook

One of the main goals of ‘Hello Space!’ was to inspire the next generation of children to go into the STEM field (Science, technology, engineering and math) by making Space seem closer - something they can talk to and reach.

This sentiment was seconded by Herro Mustafa, the US Ambassador to Bulgaria, expressing her hope that some of the students she spoke to at the event will get closer to Space than they can imagine. She encouraged the participants to pursue a career in the sciences, as this is one of the main pathways to the stars.

She had a very simple message for the kids participating in the event: “Keep reaching for the stars. Set your goals high, achieve your goals and then aim even higher”.

A third Bulgarian astronaut

Bulgaria has a somewhat formidable space exploration tradition, considering the country’s limited resources and population. As it was mentioned during the event, the country is the third-largest producer of space food.

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences is constantly developing new designs of instruments for the space station, most notably, a machine that measures solar radiation and is currently in operation on the ISS.

 Georgi Ivanov, the first Bulgarian in Space,
Source: Svilen1970 on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bulgaria is the sixth space-faring nation since during the Cold War it was able to send two people into space through the Interkosmos Soviet Space Programme.

Georgi Ivanov, the first Bulgarian cosmonaut spoke at the conference and expressed his desire for the event to become a tradition, so that more children can get a glimpse of the magic of Space.

In addition, Solomon Passy, the chairman of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, stated that he had hope for a third Bulgarian astronaut in the future.

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