Danielle's Hopes of Space Travel
Tuesday, 05 March 2013
Former Bolton School Girls’ Division student Danielle Hawarden is hoping to join the space race and is counting on the people of her hometown Bolton to help her get there.
The 23-year-old is a step closer to achieving her ambition of becoming an astronaut after entering the Lynx competition to send a Briton into space. She is currently placed 243 out of thousands of people. But the first stage of the competition is decided on votes from the public with the top 200 in the poll on April 30 going through to the next stage. This is where applicants’ mental and physical endurance is tested through a series of challenges. The top four will fly to America for the next step.
Becoming an astronaut is something Danielle has geared her life towards since the age of 15 and at just 16 she had a work placement at NASA’s space centre in Houston, Texas. She has since graduated with a BSc in physics and philosophy, spent three years in Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron, which is part of the RAF Volunteer Reserves, and as a result completed a solo flight in a Grob Tutor T1 aircraft. Danielle, who is now studying medicine at Manchester University, said: “It has been my dream since I was a teenager to become an astronaut and I have been doing everything possible in order to make that dream a reality. NASA and the European Space Agency usually select two types of astronaut - those with military piloting experience and those with a strong scientific background to become payload or mission specialists. I am currently studying medicine, but haven’t given up my dream of becoming an astronaut as I hope to join the RAF and become a specialist in Aviation Medicine.”
Danielle was first bitten by the space bug when she was 13 and watching the Tom Hanks film, Apollo 13. Originally, her ambition was to work in mission control, but after flying lessons she decided to reach out for the stars.
She added: “I am hoping my academic background and active lifestyle - I am on the university rowing team and have completed triathlons - will prepare me for these challenges and that I stand a good chance of getting through. Lynx, which makes men’s toiletries, has geared the competition towards men, however there has been an overwhelming response from women, many of whom, like myself, have a physics or science degree and a real interest in space and science.”