Bulgaria is trying to reach for the stars again, Source: The Atlantic Club

„Hello Space! Bulgaria/EU calling“: Students are getting ready for conference call with Space

„Hello Space! Bulgaria/EU calling“: Students are getting ready for conference call with Space

Astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet will be answering their questions

On 26 July Bulgaria will establish a connection with the International Space Station (ISS) during the project “Hello, Space! Bulgaria/EU calling”. This will be a unique opportunity for students from across the country and the EU to talk directly with astronauts and scientists from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

TheMayor.EU is a media partner to "Hello Space! Bulgaria/EU calling" and the project has garnered widespread support from across the public and private sector in the country and abroad. The 20-minute long historic video conference is the culmination of a one-day event consisting of STEM-related workshops held in multiple locations across the country. 

Keep your eyes on the stars

In-Flight Educational Downlink is a project of the U.S. Embassy in Sofia and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria with support from more than 30 leading Bulgarian NGOs, STEM/space research stakeholders and private sector participants.

The goal of the conference and workshops is to inspire the next generation to dream big about space, the Moon, Venus, Mars and beyond, consequently getting them interested in the STEM field.

The Astronauts answering questions on the space station are Mark Vande Hei and Thomas Pesquet. Vande Hei is from the US and was selected from NASA. In 1999 he became an assistant physics professor at the United States Military Academy in West Point. Currently, he is serving as a flight engineer aboard the ISS.  

Thomas Pesquet is from France and was picked by the ESA. He has a master’s in Aeronautics and extensive experience as a pilot. In 2016 he had his first mission, called Proxima, which was six months long. His second mission started in July 2020 onboard the Space X Crew Dragon.

Students were encouraged to participate in a contest sending their questions for the astronauts to the NASA team for evaluation so that they can be answered properly. One example is Demetra, a 13-year-old from Sofia, who wants to ask them if the physical matter will soon become pure energy and thought-form.

Even more institutions are joining in

The event underlines Bulgaria’s ambition to return to space and its desire for an active role in the development of the emerging field of Space Law. Bulgaria has a long tradition in space exploration, being the sixth nation in the world to send a man in Space.

Solomon Passy, the President of the Atlantic Club said: “We are glad we managed to gather a cluster of specialised NGO’s, academic organisations and private sector support in this team.”

The Municipality of Stara Zagora will join "Hello, Space! Bulgaria speaks”, as well. On July 26, at 5 pm, on the big screen in the Star Hall of the Yuri Gagarin Astronomical Observatory, everyone will be able to watch the historic 20-minute live video conference with the International Space Station.

Throughout the day from 9.00 to 19.00 fans of the stars will be able to participate in online workshops for children organized within the project.

The Observatory in Stara Zagora, formerly known as the First People's Astronomical Observatory, was the first such in Bulgaria, unveiled on 26 February 1961 - the year of the first space flight, so the Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became its partner.

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