Wheathampstead astronaut-hopeful in space race semi-final

Sue Nelson, wannabe space traveller

Sue Nelson, wannabe space traveller - Credit: Photo supplied

IT may be one small step for man, but it will be two giant leaps for a Wheathampstead woman who has been voted through to the semi-final of a competition to secure a seat on a space plane.

Science broadcaster and writer Sue Nelson joined the race to secure a top 200 position after she reached 150th place in a vote organised by Lynx deodorant, which is offering 22 astronaut places on a new space plane.

She will now join 199 other astronaut hopefuls also voted through in the UK for a series of gruelling physical and mental tests in London.

But Sue admitted to having a nail-biting wait when votes closed at midnight on Tuesday as at one point she was in 199th place with just half an hour to go.

She said: “After a late dash of votes and calling in favours from friends, family and strangers, I’ve managed to get through to the next round.

“It was pretty hairy but I’m delighted to have got through and will be supporting the women on the Astrogrrls pressure group who also got through.”

Sue and members of the group were aghast at the sexist advertising campaign by Lynx, which made it obvious that the competition was aimed at potential male astronauts only – and barred women from taking part in eight countries.

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She and other contestants will have to vie to become one of just four recruits to go through to the final round, with finalists undergoing further tests in Orlando, Florida, for their chance to become part of a 22-strong international crew.

Those successfully getting through to the final stage will be trained and travel 103km above earth with space expedition company Spacexc.

Sue said: “I’d better get off to the gym and lay off the chocolate and white wine!”