NASA Astronauts to Participate in Space Week in Vietnam

Vietnam is set to host its inaugural Space Week, travelling to three cities across the country from June 5 to 9. Vi Thanh city (Hau Giang province) will kick off the event on June 5 and 6, followed by Thu Duc city (HCMC) on June 7, and finally, Quy Nhon city (Binh Dinh province) on June 8 and 9.

NASA Astronauts to Visit Vietnam for Space Week
Lam Nguyen Hai Long (middle), chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association, shared information with the press about the organization of Vietnam Space Week on the afternoon of May 29. Photo: L.H

Vietnam has been chosen by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the first country in Southeast Asia to host this exciting event. Visitors to this week-long event will get the chance to interact with former astronauts and explore the world of space, as well as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

At the press conference on the afternoon of May 29th, Lam Nguyen Hai Long, the Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association (HCA), announced that Vietnam Space Week is intended to spark the curiosity and enthusiasm of the younger generation by telling the captivating story of astronauts and their experiences in space. The working and living conditions of astronauts in the cosmos will be explored, allowing those in attendance to gain a greater appreciation for the incredible feats of space exploration.

The event is also intended to help the public learn more about NASA’s scientific advances. It is conveyed through shared stories from scientists about research aimed at protecting the Earth, reducing environmental pollution, and warning of the risk of collisions with other planets and extraterrestrial life.

The organizers of the STEM educational activities hope to share their enthusiasm for scientific research and exploration with young people and teenagers, in order to help guide their career choices and foster creative thinking. By doing so, they are contributing to the development of a future generation of scientists and innovators.

Two NASA astronauts will meet with 3,000 students in the central province of Binh Dinh to talk about life in space.

US astronauts Michael A. Baker and Josef F. Schmid will visit the Binh Dinh Center for Science Exploration and Innovation on June 8 and June 9 as part of Vietnam NASA Space Week.

Michael A. Baker was the esteemed astronaut support team leader at Kennedy Space Center for three noteworthy space shuttles: STS-44, STS-42, and STS-45. His exemplary leadership and knowledge of the space program earned him much respect from his peers and colleagues. With his extensive experience and expertise, Baker was the perfect individual to lead the team in ensuring the successful launch of these three shuttles.

NASA Astronauts to Visit Vietnam for Space Week
US astronaut Michael A. Baker. Photo: NASA

He spent 965 hours in space, being the pilot of the space shuttle STS-43 from August 2 to 11, 1991 and the space shuttle STS-52 from October 22 to November 1, 1992. He was the commander aboard the space shuttle STS-68 from September 30 to October 11, 1994, and the space shuttle STS-81 from January 12 to 22, 1997.

Dr. Josefs Schmid is a retired NASA surgeon and family physician at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. During his tenure, he served as a senior inspector for the US Federal Aviation Administration. He provided care for astronauts, members of their families, and retired engineers, including those from the Gemini and Apollo programs.

Besides exchanging and discussing with astronauts, Vietnam Space Week promises to have exciting experiential activities such as exploring the night sky, experiencing virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) technology, enjoying the captivating drone show, and admiring the mesmerizing light show – Hologram Tube of Astronaut.

NASA Astronauts to Visit Vietnam for Space Week
The press conference announcing the organization of the Vietnam Space Week event. Photo: Organizer of the event

“This is the first time this program has been implemented in a country in Southeast Asia. We look forward to maintaining this event every year and hope NASA continues to choose Vietnam as a destination, raising the event to a regional level,” said Lam Nguyen Hai Long.

On behalf of Hau Giang Province, one of the localities hosting Vietnam Space Week, Vice Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Ho Thu Anh shared the significance of the event. By attending the event, Ho Thu Anh said that it was an opportunity for Hau Giang and other localities to learn more about space technology. He also highlighted the potential of advanced space technology to help localities solve various social and economic issues. He was optimistic that the event would bring about positive outcomes for the province and the entire nation. Furthermore, Ho Thu Anh expressed his hope that the Vietnam Space Week would encourage more young people to pursue a career in space technology, and ultimately contribute to the development of Vietnam’s space industry.

She expects the event to have a positive impact on the young generation in general, and particularly on students and communities in the Mekong Delta. Its mission is to protect the Earth, prevent the contamination of the environment, and raise awareness of the potential risk of collisions with other planets.

It is designed to introduce children and young people to the wonders of space exploration and to help them develop a passion for STEM.

Space Week was initiated in Scotland in the early 2000s by Hyang Lloyd, a former NASA employee. It is an annual event that aims to raise awareness among young people about the career possibilities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Through interactive activities, young people are introduced to the wonders of space exploration and encouraged to develop a passion for STEM-related disciplines. Space Week provides an opportunity for students to explore the many possibilities that a career in STEM could open up for them. Additionally, the event helps to foster an appreciation for the importance of STEM in our society.

This is an annual event to celebrate and showcase NASA’s impressive achievements and contributions to space exploration, scientific research, and technology development. It is organized by NASA in collaboration with its partners, featuring a series of activities and events.

Rosie Nguyen