Egypt Independent

Omar Samra launches a project to engage Egyptian students in space science

Targeting more than 100 schools and universities across the country, The Egyptian adventurer Omar Samra launched a new project entitled ‘Make Space Yours’ whose aim is to motivate and raise the students' interest in space science and exploration by engaging them in space competitions on a national level.

To reach the highest number of students and achieve the highest level of engagement, the project will introduce two different competitions, one for university students and another for schools that will last throughout the academic year. 

The team will conduct several sessions in Cairo's schools and universities to create a strong sense of excitement and engagement about space. The show will also go on the road as an initiative to target students in universities and schools in other cities across the country including Alexandria, Sinai, Suez and Upper Egypt.

According to a press statement, the first phase is expected to launch in Cairo on 23 November at the American University in Cairo's Tahrir campus and will be led by Samra along with Mohamed Sallam, the only Egyptian and Arab astronaut candidate at Mars One, and three Egyptians with official experience in space science. 

“Make Space Yours’ represents a great platform to inspire youth about space science and identify and develop young talent that eventually develops into a pillar of community outreach and dialogue among industry professionals for space experiments and innovations,” Samra said.

Omar Samra during a press conference announcing the project.

The project will enable university students to submit ideas for potential experiments that could be carried out in microgravity and the winning experiment will accompany Samra on his space flight aboard with the XCOR Science & Payloads. In 2013, Samra won the AXE Apollo Space Academy competition in the US state of Florida, beating out 112 worldwide competitors that won her a ticket on the first commercial spaceflight to be the first Egyptian in space.

However, the students also compete in a written format, as they will be required to submit a maximum of a 1000-word research paper describing their vision of building a colony or spaceships traveling to other planets and moons.

The school competition will launch every three months and those winning students will participate in a 3-day intensive educational space camp organized by Wild Guanabana and its youth arm Muricata. Wild Guanabana is a company founded by Samra that creates authentic and ethical adventure travel experiences in wild and wonderful destinations around the world.

With the partnership with Digital Republic a Cairo and Dubai-based full-service digital agency, Samra pointed out that the project has intensively invested in the digital media to broaden its reach, engagement and participation especially it targets the youth age group.

“A dedicated website and social media engines platforms will be developed to guide and update students throughout the project’s timeline” Samra said. He noticed that the project hopes to launch soon in other Arab countries including United Arab Emirates.

A Facebook Page was recently launched with the same name, goals, and competition ideas. The page posted several questions to grab the user's attention like: Have you ever thought about the importance of space and its impact on the world? Have you ever thought that space is part of our lives, knowledge, and future? Stay tuned if you want to join an adventure that will contribute to the future. 

The project is supported by XCOR Science & Payloads along with an NGO Partner which is responsible for school and university outreach and management and with the support of the Commercial International Bank (CIB) and Inertia Properties.