A Filipino will make history when he flies to outer space next year.
Chino Roque became the first astronaut from the Philippines when he won the prize in the Axe Apollo Space Academy Competition.
His name was announced by Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, one of the astronauts of Apollo 11, and known as the second man to walk to the moon. Roque defeated fellow candidates Ramil Santos and Evan Ray Datuin.
The three just came back from the five-day training at Axe Apollo Space Camp in Orlando, Florida, where a total of 107 candidates participated. They will return to the country next week.
Roque, a former captain of La Salle’s football team and also a Crossfit trainer, underwent both air combat training and assault course. Meanwhile, his fellow countrymen Santos and Datuin (also a La Sallean) took air force training and high G-Force Training, respectively.
A psychology graduate, Roque proved that his “never-give-up” attitude paid off at the end.
Prior to making it to the top three, the 22-year-old Roque was selected via electronic raffle to replace Lt. Mario Mendoza Jr., after the Air Force pilot withdrew from competition due to conflicts in his schedule.
Roque will be part of a 22-person contingent selected from 60 countries around the world, in an all-expense paid, half-hour trip outside the planet next year. Each of them will receive tickets worth $95,000 to fly into space aboard the X-COR Aerospace Lynx Aircraft.
Asked what he will bring with him to outer space, Roque answered “a rosary and the Filipino flag.”