First Pinoy in space trains at the Apollo Global Space Camp USA

The first Flipino ever to go to space could be one of three participants to the international Axe Apollo Global Space Camp in the U.S. scheduled this December in Orlando, Florida, USA.

The three lucky Pinoys (from left) Chino Roque, Ramil Santos, and Evan Rey Datuin, a hotel and restaurant management graduate were selected from a rigorous and competitive eight-month selection process. They are now preparing for the next stage of the search, “astronaut” training.

AXE, a fragrance brand, officially announced on Wednesday the lucky picks of Filipino representatives. The presentation of the three finalists was held Wednesday (Oct. 23) at Aracama Restaurant, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Towards the end, only one of them will emerge with a free ticket to become the first Filipino in space.

Datuin, Santos and Roque, a fitness coach, were selected from some 28,000 Filipino hopefuls who underwent a series of tests for eight months. The number was later trimmed to 4,000 and then later to three. Roque replaced Philippine Air Force Lt. Mario Mendoza Jr. who volunteered to withdraw from the competition to serve his military duties as a pilot-in-training.

The three will join over a hundred candidates from more than 60 countries to undergo training missions designed to simulate space flight and astronaut training for real.

The search was launched in January that drew millions around the world and applied online. Some 28,000 applicants came from the Philippines later reduced to 4,485 after Apollo national challenges were held.

In terms of applicants, the Philippines ranked 4rth and topped the list in Asia. Hopeful Santos, an engineer based in Korea, first did not make it to the winners circle but was eventually taken in as a wildcard candidate, thru electronic raffle.

Camp training in Florida will subject candidates to hyper gravity G-Centrifuge Training, parabolic flight aboard a spacecraft that will free fall, and hyper speed flight on a jet at Mach2 or twice the speed of sound.

One seat for a Filipino is already guaranteed for the space flight by mid-2014 out of the 23 individuals who will make it to the last cut for the space trip, according to Axe Philippines brand manager Gem Laforteza.

“Through the Axe Apollo Space Academy, we have set out to inspire modern-day Filipino heroes to step forward. The title of ‘first Filipino in space’ will go to the best candidate, someone all Filipinos can look up––figuratively and literally,” he said.

Much earlier, the United Kingdom-based Unilever Group which manufactures the Axe line of men’s hygiene products and Space Expedition Corporation earlier announced a 22-flight seat purchase on XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx® Mark II private suborbital spacecraft for Unilever’s space-themed AXE Apollo™ campaign.

A terrestrial suborbital flight is one on which a spacecraft reaches near the space frontier of atmospheric limit, at approximately 100 km, but do not complete an orbital revolution around the Earth. (From various reports with PNA photo by Rico H. Borja)

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