Ballina woman Dr. Norah Patten will be returning to the USA this month to continue her training as a scientist-astronaut candidate.

Dr. Patten became Ireland’s first scientist - astronaut candidate with Project PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere) late last year.

Now she has been selected to participate in the next phase of the training and will depart for the USA this week (April 7).

During her initial training, Dr. Patten was among a team who learned to apply their respective skills to effectively conduct research on the next generation of space vehicles. The selected team were also trained on high-g flights and learnt the science behind the Earth’s atmosphere.

Read More: Campaign underway for first Irish engineer Norah Patten to go to space 

Dr. Patten told The Connaught Telegraph that she will be doing two related training programs back to back.

“Spacecraft Egress and Rescue Operations will teach us hands on skills required during the spacecraft landing phase. I will also be taking part in the Advanced Spacecraft Egress and Post Landing Operations which will include learning how to exit the spacecraft with and without the spacesuit on,” she said.

Norah’s training will cover many aspects including getting out of the vehicle (Egress), evacuation from the spacecraft, rescue and raft operations, sea survival, nominal and contingency operations, and spacecraft design.

This letter has made my heart melt 😍 Thank you Brógán - keep shooting for the stars because the sky is not the limit 🚀⭐️ @ISU_SSP @ISUnet @spacenation @People_Of_Space @SpaceWeekIRL @ReelLifeScience @PoSSUMAstronaut @PrimaryTimesIRL @primarytimesdub @mayodarkskies

— Norah Patten (@SpaceNorah) March 27, 2018

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Dr. Patten, a PhD graduate from the University of Limerick, is the only Irish person of the twelve who have been selected for the highly sought after training program.

"I am really looking forward to this next stage of the training – it is another step closer to achieving my ultimate goal of becoming Ireland’s first astronaut. I would also like to thank AerLingus for their generosity in sponsoring my flights this April,” she said.

For updates and progress, follow Dr. Patten on Twitter @SpaceNorah and Facebook here.