Budding astronaut Tim prepares for lift-off

Budding astronaut Tim prepares for lift-off

A BUDDING astronaut from Dewsbury is shooting for the stars in TV’s newest science programme.

The BBC show, Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?, is headed by world-renowned astronaut Chris Hadfield in the search for Britain’s next spaceman.

Tim Gregory, a 24-year-old who hails from Hanging Heaton, is down to the final six contestants after being put through his paces in a series of gruelling challenges that test if the applicants have what it takes to become astronauts.

Tim, who is studying for a PhD in Cosmochemistry at the University of Bristol, said: “I learned so much about myself and so much about astronaut selection as well.

“I’ve really learned what my pitfalls are and what I can be doing in the meantime now to improve my chances of becoming an astronaut for real the next time the European Space Agency (ESA) are recruiting.”

A total of 12 contestants were picked meticulously from a long application process.

The former Heckmondwike Grammar School student added: “I filled in the application form and just kept getting through one stage after the other until I eventually made it through to the final 12.

“Just the fact that any of the 12 of us got to be there was really valuable in itself because we all learned our pitfalls and our strengths. I learned something from all three experts.”

The expert panel is made up of Chris Hadfield – who will give a personal recommendation to the winner when the ESA next look for new astronauts – former NASA medical researcher Dr Kevin Fong and psychologist Dr Iya Whiteley.

Challenges so far have included hovering a helicopter, contestants taking their own blood and being tested for claustrophobia, physical fitness and mental agility.

Those who fail to make the grade can be asked to leave at any time.

Tim said: “One of the biggest things I took away from this is what I need to do to improve my chances of becoming an astronaut.

“It has been so valuable, and Chris had so many wise words and messages to pass on. Not just about astronauts but about life in general, he’s a really well-rounded person.

“It was the best experience of my life!”

You can keep up to date with Tim’s progress by watching the show this Sunday, September 10 at 8pm, on BBC Two.

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