Sarah Chong, the Mexican student who will live as an astronaut

The student will participate in a competing project to go to space. (Photo: CONECTA)

Sarah chong, mechatronics engineering student, from Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Estado de México, will have the opportunity to live her dream up close: to work and learn from NASA experts, thanks to the International Air and Space Program (IASP), in which she was selected.

The IASP is a challenging international aerospace program, in which Sarah will have the opportunity to live a week as an astronaut in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Since I was little I had a passion for science and space. I watched humanoid robots in action and was curious about space exploration robots. I have a vision to work at NASA. Being able to go to camp and work with NASA engineers brings me very close to my dream, ”he says.

Sarah Chong’s experience

Once in Alabama, Sarah and the other 59 selected students from around the world between the ages of 12 and 25 will be divided into teams and must work on a scientific project.

“Students are divided into different teams and we have to develop a project and the first place winning team will send their prototype into space. While we develop it, we do other activities, which involve training as an astronaut, diving, completing a piloting experience and training for an assisted flight ”, he shares.

During her stay in the program, Sarah will participate in two workshops; the first is rocketry, in which they will carry out the construction and launch of a rocket.

The second consists of a robotics workshop for the design of a rover based on a set of parameters and tasks that it must perform.

“During the program we are going to build a rover, which are these exploration vehicles that travel across the planet’s surface in order to collect samples. It’s something that has always caught my attention, being part of the construction of these at NASA, ”Sarah shares.

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The Mexican student who will live as an astronaut

In addition, during this program, students will experience a variety of activities depending on the mission they are developing.

Among the activities that the student will be able to carry out in the IASP, the following stand out: training as an astronaut in the 1 / 6th Gravity Chair and the Multi-Axis Trainer; in addition to
experience the neutral buoyancy while diving in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer.

Also, you will learn about the International Space Station and the role it plays in the global community.

Finally, you will live the entire piloting experience learning about the operations of an aircraft and you will train for your own assisted flight.

Prior to the face-to-face program, all registered students will have access to a series of training activities on aerospace issues in a virtual way.

How was it selected?

It was with her proposal on the redesign of tools for space exploration with which she won honorable mention in the NASA Space Apps Challenge CDMX competition, that Sarah obtained a place for the program to be held next November 2021.

“My proposal is to improve, redesign and develop the tool kit as well as its anchorage to the suit, with this, the impact on space tasks would be useful and significant. The central idea is to facilitate its use in a space suit without causing any risk to astronauts, making it light and practical to collect samples on the lunar surface or even on the surface of Mars ”, he assures.

The eighth-semester mechatronics engineering student has experience in the design and development of robots from PrepaTec, skills that she acquired in the FIRST program in international competitions and in the programming of robotic arms in the plant.

Sarah is currently a STEM representative for her work to inspire and spread science. In addition, he is part of the representative team of Art and Design, which has demanded that he push his creativity to the limits to complement logical-mathematical thinking.

“I am very happy to have been selected, for me to be able to go is to put the name of Tec and the country up high, and inspire other people to participate in these projects,” she says.