Abbie takes on NASA in the space olympics

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Student Abbie Singleton is just coming back down to earth after travelling to Russia to compete against 200 people from around the world in the “Space Olympics”.

Abbie, from Kilburn, applied for the competition while studying GCSE Astronomy at John Flamsteed School in Denby and combined her exam revision and then the start of her A level programme at the Joseph Wright Centre in Derby with intense preparation for the event.

The 16-year-old then travelled to Russia with 30 other young people in Team GB – drawn from schools across Derbyshire and Leicestershire - and competed in a range of competitions against young people from Russia, USA, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Spain and Israel.

As well as written exams in physics, maths and creative writing, Abbie gave a seven-minute presentation about how the planet Mars could be adapted to cater for human life should we have to vacate Earth and was placed fifth out of her group of 22 in the astro-physics category.

When not competing in the events, she was given tours of some of Russia’s top space facilities and areas of cultural significance.

The annual competition for young people aged between 14 and 18, is held in Korolev City, Moscow.

Following her trip, Abbie described the experience as ‘the best ten days of my life’ and is already hoping to apply again to attend next year.

“I had a fantastic time – meeting all sorts of people from different countries, visiting some of the landmarks in Russia and learning a great deal about the Russian space programme which was fascinating” Abbie said.

“The top prizes went to Russian students who have won every year since the programme started and my presentation category was particularly tough as I was up against American students who had benefited from special tutoring and input from the NASA team.

“The build up and preparation seemed to go on for ever and I worked really hard to get everything ready but the trip itself went really quickly and I can’t believe it is all over.”

Abbie is studying Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Psychology A level at Derby College and is planning to go onto university to study medicine

“I combined working for my GCSEs and then starting my AS levels at the Joseph Wright Centre with preparing for the International Space Olympics but my work has not suffered and I am looking forward to knuckling down to college life now,” she said.

“This has been an experience that I will never forget and I hope to have the opportunity to go back to Russia again next year to have another go.”