Fitness firm exec is first Pinoy to reach outer space
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A 23-year-old coach and marketing manager of a fitness firm in Manila will be the first Filipino to reach outer space after he was selected to join a group of 24 ‘astronauts’ who will fly into space onboard the Space Expedition Corp. shuttle in 2015.

Chino Roque of CrossFit Manila was chosen after surviving the five-day AXE Apollo Space Academy (AASA) Space Camp training in Orlando, Florida.

In a phone interview with The STAR, Roque said that he felt amazed, happy and sad when his name was announced as the official representative of the Philippines by legendary US astronaut Buzz Aldrin in awarding ceremonies yesterday at the Rocket Garden of Kennedy Space Center in Orlando.

“I couldn’t describe what I felt because I was so happy to be chosen and at the same time, I was also sad for my fellow Filipinos,” said Roque, a psychology graduate from De La Salle University.

Evan Ray Datuin and Ramil Santos are the other two delegates of the Philippines in the AASA Space Camp. The three Filipinos took part in intense training that employed the same methods and equipment used to hone the skills of astronauts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Roque’s selection came after three days of grueling tests at the AASA Space Camp. Roque bested Datuin and Santos with his impressive performances in the Air Combat Training, G Force Training and Assault Course.

Roque credited his impressive performance in the simulator tests with the hard work and preparation he put in before going to Orlando, saying he saw to it that he was physically in tiptop shape.

“I really sacrificed a lot. I put in the hard work to be in the best condition,” he added. 

Roque also said his opportunity to become the first Filipino to reach outer space is like an icing on the cake after his great experience in the AASA Space Camp.

“It was hard but I really had fun,” he said.

The AASA Space Camp training officially ended yesterday with the graduation of 107 astronaut aspirants, including Roque, Datuin and Santos.

The graduation ceremony was led by Aldrin and other judges including XCOR Aerospace COO Andrew Nelson—whose rocket engine company is manufacturing the shuttle that will fly the AASA winners to space. Space Expedition Corp. (SXC) CEO and shuttle owner Michiel Mol, SXC Test Pilot Mission Control COO Harry van Hulten, and SXC Director of Commercial Space Marlous Mens. An outdoor party followed the graduation ceremony.

 

 

 

AIR COMBAT TRAINING ANDREW NELSON APOLLO SPACE ACADEMY BUZZ ALDRIN DATUIN AND SANTOS ORLANDO ROQUE SPACE SPACE CAMP SPACE EXPEDITION CORP
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