Bearsden teenager’s trip was truly out of this world

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A Bearsden Academy pupil has just returned from a trip that was truly out of this world.

Ronan McLaren (17) was one of just 10 school pupils selected to travel to Houston, Texas, with the Scottish Space School programme.

Six hundred pupils originally applied for the programme and Ronan was chosen after attending a week-long residential programme funded by the Faculty of Engineering at Strathclyde University.

Ronan said: “When I was over in Houston I had the chance to do some amazing things such as attend the Wings over Houston air show.

“A VIP tour of the Johnston Space Centre consisted of visiting the neutral buoyancy lab where astronauts prepare for space flight and I was even fortunate enough to see two astronauts training when I was there.

“Also, going onto the floor of the International Space Station (ISS) mission control room was an experience I will never forget. I also had a tour round a space vehicle mock up facility where Mars rovers are made.”

Ronan also had to meet some “motivating and inspiring people” including Gene Kranz, a former flight director who oversaw the Apollo 11 moon landing and helped rescue the Apollo 13 mission.

He added: “I also met astronaut Fred Haise, who was a pilot on Apollo 13.

“Overall the experience is something you cannot get anywhere else.

“I have since become very inspired and motivated by the people I have met and hope to someday pursue a career like theirs.

“The aim of the trip is to try get more young people across Scotland working in science, technology, engineering and maths, and I definitely will be. This is an experience I will never forget and I am very thankful I had the opportunity to go.”