Trip to outer space for Thai woman

Trip to outer space for Thai woman

At age 23, satellite control team leader & KMITL graduate Pirada Techavijit won global competition to ride into space for 6 minutes.

Pirada Techavijit, winner of a ride into outer space, was trained by air force officers at Bangkok's Don Muang and Nakhon Pathom's Kampengsane air force bases, where she learnt basic piloting skills.


Thai woman wins historic trip to outer space 


Apinya Wipatayotin

A Thai woman will spend six minutes in space next year, after winning a ride in a Lynx Mark II sub-orbital spacecraft.

Pirada Techavijit, a satellite control team leader of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, is one of 23 chosen from across the world who will be taken up into the edges of outer space for the experience of a lifetime.

The trip into outer space.

A ride in the Lynx Mark II would normally set one back $3.2 million (104 million baht), including medical screening and G-force training.

Ms Pirada, however, was one of 23 winners of a global competition sponsored by Axe deodorant, which will send people into space free.

Ms Pirada said she had to pass a tough one-year test to qualify, including physical, mental and writing tests.

"I am so happy my efforts have helped me attain success. More than that, I can inspire others to follow their dreams and go into space,'' she told journalists at the faculty of engineering, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), where she is a former student.

Ms Pirada started on her journey into space when she won a television programme, Fanpantae Apollo 2013 (True Fan of Apollo 2013).

Pilot training in Thailand.

Later, she was trained by air force officers at Bangkok's Don Muang and Nakhon Pathom's Kampengsane air force bases, where she learnt basic piloting skills.

She attended a seven-day camp in California last year, which introduced her to basic astronaut skills, including how to stay in zero-gravity conditions and a supersonic aircraft, which is similar to the experience in space.

Training in a spaceship simulator.

Among the 107 participants from the camp, she was eventually selected for the space ride.

Another 22 candidates were also chosen, from countries including Japan, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. About 500,000 candidates from 62 countries applied.

"What I am expecting to see is the whole planet from space. There are only 500 people who have gone into space. Some people say it is God's view. It will be the biggest moment in my life,'' she said.

The flight will take off from California next year.

The Lynx Mark II sub-orbital spacecraft travels at a speed of 3,552 kilometres an hour, and will send her into the ionosphere, around 103km from the ground, in just three-and-a-half minutes.

The aircraft is 9m long, with room for just a passenger and a pilot. However, Ms Pirada will have to wear a space suit, and can float inside the aircraft.

The plane cuts its engine for six minutes to allow passengers to appreciate the experience of zero gravity.

On the return trip, the engine needs to increase its power to break through the Earth's atmosphere and return safely.

The total trip takes about one hour. The Lynx website says the aircraft can make four trips into space a day, with a turnaround time of two hours.

Ms Pirada said she is thinking of taking a symbol of Thailand with her, adding researchers are welcome to suggest some small experiment for her to perform while in space.

Meanwhile, Suchatvee Suwansawat, dean of the faculty of engineering at KMITL, said Ms Pirada's success was a great inspiration to the younger generation, and should help put an end to the belief that space is too remote an objective for Thais. It would also encourage students to pay more attention to space science.

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  • aircraft (noun): an airplane or helicopter or other vehicle that travels through the air from place to place - เครื่องบิน
  • apply: to make a formal request for a job of position - สมัครงาน
  • appreciated: recognised for having good or special qualities - ประทับใจ, ซาบซึ้ง
  • astronaut (noun): (American) a person whose job involves travelling and working in a spacecraft - มนุษย์อวกาศ
  • atmosphere: the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth - บรรยากาศรอบโลก
  • attain: to succeed in getting something, usually after a lot of effort - บรรลุผล,สำเร็จ,ได้มา,ถึง,ได้ความรู้
  • attend: to go to an event, such as a meeting, a show, a sports competition, etc. - เข้าร่วม (ในการประชุม, งานต่าง)
  • base: a place where an army, a navy, etc. operates from - ฐานทัพ, ฐานที่มั่น
  • basic: of the simplest kind or at the simplest level - พื้นฐาน, อันดับแรก, สำคัญ
  • belief (noun): something that you think is true - ความเชื่อ
  • camp: a place where athletes (boxers, footballers, etc.) train, or workers live - ค่าย
  • candidate: one of the people being considered for a job - ตัวแทนที่ส่งเข้ารับตำแหน่ง
  • competition: an organised event in which people try to win prizes by being better than other people - การแข่งขัน
  • condition: the physical state of a person or animal, especially how healthy they are - อาการ, สุขภาพ
  • cut engine: turn off engine -
  • edge (noun): the outside limit of an object, a surface or an area; the part furthest from the centre - ริม, ขอบ
  • effort: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม
  • encourage: to cause someone to want to do something - กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
  • engineer: a person who arranges for something to happen, especially in a skilful way - ผู้วางแผน
  • engineering (noun): the activity of applying scientific knowledge to the design, building and control of machines, roads, bridges, electrical equipment, etc - วิศวกรรมศาสตร์
  • eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
  • experience (verb): to have something happen to you or to live through some event - ประสบ
  • experiment: a test of products, substances, new ideas, methods, etc. to find out what effect they have - การทดลอง
  • faculty: a group of departments in a college or university which specialise in a particular subject or group of subjects - คณะ
  • flight (noun): a trip on an airplane; a plane making a particular journey - การเดินทางด้วยเครื่องบิน; เที่ยวบิน
  • float: to cause to move slowly in the air or on water - ลอย
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • G-force: the force of gravity - แรงดึงดูดของโลก) which increases according to your speed
  • generation: a group of people in society who are born and live around the same time - รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
  • global: throughout the world - ทั่วโลก
  • gravity: the seriousness or importance of something - ความสำคัญ,ความจริงจัง
  • gravity (adjective form: gravitational): the force that attracts objects in space towards each other, and that on the earth pulls them towards the centre of the planet, so that things fall to the ground when they are dropped - แรงดึงดูดของโลก
  • inspiration: someone or something that gives you new ideas or enthusiasm to do something - แรงบันดาลใจ
  • inspire: to give people a particular feeling or a desire to do something - จุดประกาย
  • journalist: a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television - ผู้สื่อข่าว
  • journey: travelling from one place to another, especially when they are far apart - การเดินทาง
  • medical: connected with illness and injury and their treatment - ทางการแพทย์, ด้านการแพทย์, เกี่ยวกับการแพทย์
  • mental: connected with or happening in the mind; involving the process of thinking - เกี่ยวกับจิตใจ
  • moment: a very short period of time; a particular time or occasion - ชั่วขณะ, โอกาสสำคัญ
  • objective (noun): what you plan to achieve; goal; aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย
  • participant: someone who takes part in something - ผู้เข้าร่วม
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • pay attention: to watch, listen to, or consider something or someone very carefully - เอาใจใส่, สนใจ
  • perform a duty: to do what your job requires - ปฏิบัติหน้าที่
  • physical: connected with a person's body - เกี่ยวกับร่างกาย
  • pilot: a person who operates the controls of an aircraft, especially as a job - นักบิน
  • planet: a large round object in space that moves around a star (such as the sun) and receives light from it - ดาวเคราะห์
  • qualify (verb): to have what is needed to receive something or do something - เหมาะสม, มีคุณสมบัติเหมาะสม
  • remote: far away in distance - ห่างไกล
  • researcher: a person who carriers out a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - นักวิจัย
  • satellite: an electronic device that is sent into space and moves around the earth or another planet. It is used for communicating by radio, television, etc. and for providing information - ดาวเทียม
  • screening: the testing or examining of a large number of people or things for disease, faults, illegal objects, etc - การตรวจ
  • select: to choose - คัดเลือก
  • similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
  • skill: the ability to do something well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ
  • space suit: a special suit or clothes that a person has to wear for protection and air when they travel into outer space -
  • spacecraft: a vehicle that travels in space - ยานอวกาศ
  • sponsor: to support a person, organization or activity by giving money, encouragement or other help - อุปถัมภ์, สนับสนุน
  • sub (adj.): below -
  • symbol: someone or something that represents a particular idea or quality - สัญลักษณ์
  • tough: difficult to do or to deal with - ยาก ยากลำบาก
  • trained: having received special instruction - ฝึกหัดมาแล้ว
  • training (noun): teaching people how to do a certain job or activity - การฝึกอบรม, การฝึก, การอบรม
  • turnaround time: the time it takes to do something -
  • younger generation: young people, teenagers or people in their 20s -
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