Wednesday 25th May 2022: It’s lift-off for five Irish secondary school students flying from Shannon Airport to NASA today.
The St Flannan’s College students from Ennis, County Clare, received the VIP treatment at the airport, which is sponsoring their flight to Washington DC after the group won the NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest to design an inhabitable settlement in space.
“Mag Mell” was designed by Fifth year physics students, Naem Haq Adam Downes, Cian Pyne, Jack O’Connor and Garabhan Monahan and will now be presented at the International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Washington this week.
Speaking from Shannon Airport ahead of their flight to Washington, their physics teacher John Conneely said: “This is a wonderful opportunity. We are so proud of our students for winning the grand prize out of 17,000 students from 22 countries. We are incredibly grateful to Shannon Airport for the support.
“It is quite fitting that we are travelling from Shannon to the International Space Development Conference. Our students were thrilled to get the VIP treatment with a reception in the airport Presidential Lounge where they go to sign the guest book along with the likes of Astronauts Chris Hatfield and Al Worden, one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon!”
This isn’t the first time Shannon Airport has been linked with space travel; the airport was once an alternate landing site for the space shuttle and more recently received a shout out on the live broadcast of the Space X NASA launch in May 2020.
Niall Maloney, Shannon Airport Operations and Commercial Director said, “We were delighted to host the team from St Flannan’s College as our very special guests today. They represent the incredible talent and innovative young minds coming from this region who are making an impact on the world stage. Shannon Airport and its campus were the brainchild of an innovative and entrepreneurial mind of a young Brendan O’Regan, and we are proud to support Naem, Adam, Cian, Jack and Garabhan’s richly deserved achievement.”