Saturday, 29 August 2015

US astronauts take on Lake District challenge

It was one small step for a man, and a giant leap of courage for a former astronaut as he took on the Lake District.

US astronaut photo
Ken Ham

Budding astronauts journeyed from the US to take on the extremes of UK’s Adventure Capital, led by a team of instructors from the International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET).

The group of intrepid space explorers was led by Ken Ham, former commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis mission STS-132 and pilot of Space Shuttle mission STS-124, and wife Michelle Ham, whose previous roles have included being a lead NASA astronaut trainer and instructor and International Space Station flight controller.

ISSET students are pushed to their limits on training expeditions, and their visit to Cumbria was no different as they took on the Via Ferrata Xtreme, at Honister, in the Borrowdale Valley, braving the cold and changeable Lakeland weather.

The challenge examined their communication skills, decision-making processes, ability to deal with challenge, general self-awareness and overall vision.

Ken said: “The astronaut leadership experience exposes people to the challenges of human survival similar to exploration on a distant planet.

“The landscape found in the Lake District, especially at Honister, simulates the physical realities associated with establishing and maintaining a human presence where none existed before.”

He continued: “Explorers learn the leadership, team building and communication skills required to conduct complex missions.

“The challenging environment they find themselves in enables the explorers to help each other and work as a team in a truly unique situation.”

Michelle added: “Visiting Honister’s Via Ferrata Xtreme gave ISSET’s astronaut leadership experience participants the thrilling opportunity of testing themselves to their limits.

“Honister provides many opportunities to push human boundaries and is a perfect fit within the astronaut outdoor leadership programme.”

For more information about Honister or to take on the Via Ferrata Xtreme, visit


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