Former Shuttle Commander To Inspire Chile’s Youth at FIDAE Airshow

Former Shuttle Commander To Inspire Chile's Youth at FIDAE Airshow

Former NASA Space Shuttle Commander, Mike Bloomfield, will attend FIDAE 2024, Latin America’s foremost airshow, next month as a goodwill ambassador for U.S. industry and the Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship, which advocates for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to fuel the future industry workforce.

As part of the largest international presence at the show, Bloomfield’s message at FIDAE builds on the 2023 bicentennial of official U.S.-Chile relations to advance bilateral cooperation and give young people a stake in the future.

“Every country needs a STEM-educated workforce,” said Bloomfield, a three-time shuttle astronaut (pilot of STS-86 and STS-97, and commander of STS-110). “As world leaders in exploration and discovery, the United States and Chile have a unique opportunity — a responsibility — to excite, inspire, and train our young people to succeed in STEM careers.”

Highlights of Bloomfield’s schedule during FIDAE (April 9-14) include introducing Chile’s third group of recipients of the Endeavour scholarship, an all-expenses paid week-long, hands-on astronaut training experience at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Space Camp in Huntsville, AL; addressing members of the Colegio de Ingenieros de Chile, the national engineering trade association; and commemorating the 30th anniversary of the USA Partnership Pavilion at the show.

Tom Kallman, President and CEO of Pavilion organizer Kallman Worldwide and the 501(c)(3) Kallman Foundation, which administers the Endeavour program, announced Bloomfield’s participation at FIDAE upon returning from last month’s Singapore Airshow, where the United States also stood as the largest international presence on-site and Endeavour launched its third and fourth Singaporean teams. During the event, the scholarship foundation also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia to launch its first Endeavour team at Indo Defence 2024 in Jakarta this November.

The Endeavour Scholarship honors its namesake Worden, Command Module Pilot of the Apollo 15 spacecraft “Endeavour,” whose lifelong commitment to STEM education included serving as Kallman’s STEM ambassador at international trade events from 2015 until his passing in 2020.

“The enthusiasm and support for the Endeavour Scholarship around the world is deeply gratifying because it exemplifies the nation-to-nation spirit of partnership that fuels our program,” said Kallman. “Every country we work in — and we’ve worked in at least 50 of them since our company was founded in 1963 — is facing the same challenges to prepare its young people for the future. Many also see that future in space. As an extension of our work advancing global trade in exhibition halls, and with the support of partners in government, industry, the military, and academia, the Endeavour Scholarship connects with worldwide interest in space to promote STEM careers on earth.”

The Endeavour Scholarship invites high school students in trade show host communities to compete for four spots on a “mission” team to Space Camp. Local judges select winning applications and name a local educator to lead the crew. Since it was unveiled at the 2019 Paris Airshow, the program has presented scholarships to 76 students and 19 educators in nine countries.

The new Chilean crew members were selected by leaders of the Colegio de Ingenieros from applications submitted nationwide. Known collectively as “Mission Team #15,” the selected students Antonia Covacevich, Claudia Andrea Ulloa Henriquez, Catalina Reyes, and Gabriela Urzua will travel to the United States this July to visit Washington, DC and attend Space Camp. Their mission team leader is Rosita Guerra, a faculty member of the Arturo Merino Benitez School.

The team will be formally introduced and presented with their mission patches and jackets during a ceremony at FIDAE in the USA Partnership Pavilion on April 10 by Kallman, Bloomfield, and college President, Hernán De Solminihac.

“We are proud to partner with the Kallman Foundation to select the crew of the Astronaut Al Worden Endeavour Scholarship Mission Team #15 and participate in their introduction at the FIDAE Air Show,” said Solminihac. “From Calama in the north to Punta Arenas in the south and Santiago in between, this team will represent our entire country at Space Camp, and that experience will change their lives.”

For more information, visit www.endeavourscholarship.org.

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