DERBYSHIRE pupils will compete against teams from across the world in the race to win the 2012 Space Olympics.
The 25 students will form Team GB to take on competitors from America, China, Russia, Australia, Germany, France and Israel.
It’s the first time pupils from Derbyshire have taken part in the international event designed to develop the world’s scientists and space explorers of the future.
And it’s all thanks to a unique partnership Derbyshire County Council has forged with Russia which has seen 240 pupils from 13 schools take part in exchange trips.
During a recent visit to the country Councillor Mike Longden, Cabinet Member for Education, signed an agreement to ensure that Derbyshire students continue to benefit from the educational visits.
Now pupils who have visited Korolev City – the home of the Centre for International Space Research - to take part in space master classes have been invited to apply for a place on the Olympic team.
They will undergo a rigorous application process including a series of maths and physics tests, an individual presentation and interviews. Team selection will take place in April 2012.
The team will then be aiming for gold glory in the Space Olympics held in Korolyev, Russia, from 17 to 27 October.
cLLR Mike Longden said: “I am delighted that Derbyshire students have been invited to represent Britain in the Space Olympics.
“This is an incredible coup for us and a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to join with other nations to put their learning in to practice.
“And it’s all thanks to the unique partnership we have forged with our friends in Russia.”
The scientist leading the Russian space programme, Professor Alexander Martynov, has spent time in Derbyshire tutoring pupils, who have made return trips to Korolev City to continue their studies.
On a recent trip to the Centre for International Space Research, students visited Mission Control and went on board a rocket that has blasted in to space.
During this visit students from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammer School gave Professor Martynov a toy duck and asked if it could go in the next module due to blast into space.
Councillor Longden added: “In fact, that duck is currently in space as Professor Martynov was true to his word and in recent news coverage of the latest launch the duck could clearly be seen in the cockpit!”