Young people must be encouraged to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as the “next generation is going to lead us into further exploration of space”, said retired astronaut Mike Bloomfield.

Speaking to FINN from the UAE, where Bloomfield was promoting STEM education through The Endeavour Scholarship, he said educational support was essential to propelling the aerospace industry to new heights.

Bloomfield said: “The next generation is going to lead us into further exploration of space. The kids that we talked to are the ones that are going to continue that acceleration.

“It’s vitally important that we make them excited about STEM and make it real to them, and help them understand that this is a great way to contribute to mankind’s exploration of the heavens.”

Bloomfield conducted two school visits while in the UAE to promote the Endeavour scholarship last week.

Supporting the next generation of space explorers

“I’ve gone out to several schools in the UAE to visit with them and to talk about what it’s like to fly in space,” he said.

“To talk about my experiences in space, I had three flights in 1997, 2000 and 2002 to the International Space Station. I tell them that story, and encourage them that maybe they might want to get into some type of STEM career field

He added: “The reception has been just outstanding. We visited two schools, probably over 1,000 to 1,200 students at the two schools.

“They were very excited to hear about space and what we’re doing in space now with the International Space Station, and with NASA’s Artemis programme.”

During the Dubai Airshow last week, the Endeavour scholarship announced a partnership with the Bahrain National Space Science Agency (NSSA) to promote STEM education.

The Endeavour scholarship is managed by the nonprofit Kallman Foundation and awards scholarships that bring teams of carefully selected secondary school-age students, and their teacher chaperones, to participate in the Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
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