Niamh's Space News #6 April 14th 2022

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Niamh's Space News! Hi everyone! It’s been another busy time for me as I continue to bring you updates on all things space. The big news of this newsletter I guess is that... I’M AN ESA CHAMPION!! I recently won this place in the Education category of ESA’s new ESA Champion initiative. Last Wednesday this video was published by ESA where our ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher announced the winners of their new ESA Champions 2021. The ESA Champion initiative was set up as a way of recognising and rewarding advocacy for space in Europe among the ESA workforce and beyond. They looked for talented and passionate people to become part of a strong community of space enthusiasts promoting ESA. After reviewing thousands of profiles they selected 15 people, three for each of these categories:


Update on Artemis Mission

Civilian Crew head to ISS ESA female astronaut off to ISS

Artwork Video Education Storytelling Public Speakin

ESA Champion Niamh Shaw

And I came third in Education!



As such, a HUGE parcel awaited me in my office earlier this week - in it were all sorts of wonderful ESA merchandise, including a very cool umbrella and a sweet USB drive shaped like the Orion capsule (watch the video here of my unboxing). But the best part of that space haul was the gorgeous brushed steel plaque which bore my name on it as an ESA Champion winner in Education. I’m very fortunate that I love what I do and over the years I’ve been blessed with a lot of encouragement and praise for what I do. But I have to say that winning this award had particular significance for me and something I’m very proud to have been awarded. Most of the time I’m so absorbed in what I’m doing I don’t get to really think about the impact of the work. Some projects come together easily and some are harder than others. A lot of the time, I’m just happy to be busy and hope that I’m making a difference somewhere, with someone. I want to share all my space adventures to as many people as I can because I love what I do so much. I really enjoy explaining my experiences and finding new and interesting ways of making science easy to understand, that it becomes more relevant to our everyday lives.

It all comes from my passion for space and deep curiosity for everything. My work is rewarding enough. But I have to say, when ESA contacted me to tell me that I had been voted as one of their new ESA Champions in education, I was really moved. To be recognised by my own space agency is high praise indeed. To know that they see what I do and that they value it was humbling and I treasure the award deeply. I am truly grateful to ESA and am immensely proud to be one of their champions of education. Hope that you all have a great Easter everyone!

w a h S h m a i N r D



Credit NASA/SpaceX 2022

ESA female Astronaut off to ISS

Join Niamh for the Launch!

It’s soon time for our ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to launch to the International Space Station. She’s a member of Crew 4 who launch from NASA Kennedy Space Centre onboard SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule a top their reusable Falcon 9 rocket from launch pad 39a. NASA updated their notice a few days ago to announce that Crew 4 will launch no sooner than 10.34am (Irish time) on April 23rd. Samantha gave her last Q&A session to the media earlier this week while in quarantine for the launch. This is her second mission to the space station, which she has entitled Minerva and she has a packed mission of science experiments and space walks ahead. I wish her every success on her mission and it's always particularly good to see more women astronauts launching. In fact Crew 4 is perfectly balanced with 2 male and 2 female astronauts in the corp. If you can’t see you can’t be it! Go Samantha!

Another great thing about Samantha's launch is that I’m heading over to NASA Kennedy in the next few days to witness it for myself, and share it with you all too of course! I hope that you join me on my social media channels as I bring you live coverage of the launch. The lauch is currently scheduled for April 23rd at 5:34am local time, and of this date goes ahead, that means it will be a night launch, which will light up the sky! Night launches are always pretty special. This will be my first time seeing a launch at NASA, not my first attempt to report on one though (I was at NASA Kennedy for our last ESA astronaut’s scheduled launch back in October but it was delayed by 2 weeks and I had to return home for Science week) so please keep your fingers crossed that this time, I’ll get to see one live from the lawn of Kennedy Space Centre.

You can follow Samantha's mission on Twitter at @AstroSamantha

Credit ESA 2022



In the Next Issue

Space News Still busy at NASA Kennedy Space Centre! Artemis I update: The wet dress rehearsal of the SLS rocket/Orion Capsule which is currently on Launch pad 39b continues. There have been three attempts now to fuel the main rockets but they have run in to a number of minor faults. The full rehearsal which will include a countdown sequence has been pushed back to April 14th, let wish them every success. This rocket, if it passes the wet dress rehearsal phase, is scheduled to launch to the moon possibly in June. We have all been waiting a long time to see humans return to the moon and this first Artemis mission begins a new era in human space exploration. And hopefully the first female footprints on the lunar surface. Follow progress and latest updates of the mission on Twitter at @NASAArtemis

- Reporting from NASA Kennedy on Crew 4 Launch

Special Thanks to our Patreon Supporters!

Axiom Space Ax-1 mission: Last weekend the civilian crew Ax-1, Axiom space first mission successfully launched to the International Space Station, onboard another Crew Dragon craft from SpaceX. They are currently onboard the ISS, conducting science experiments. This is a new era for human space, the first time there has ever been an all civilian trip to the station. They return in the next few days, it will be interesting to hear how they got along. You can follow their progress by following @axiom_space on Twitter. DR NIAMH SHAW, DREAMING BIG NEWSLETTER #6

Credit NASA/Axiom Space 2022

SLS rocket on Launchpad 39b


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