Freeman Osonuga, a 30-year old Medicine and Surgery graduate from the Olabisi Onabanjo University has been shortlisted alongside 37 others to fly to space, through the Rising Star program. This program was launched back in 2014 at the One Young World Summit in Dublin.
The Rising Star program invited self-nomination from the One Young World Ambassadors and the exemplary member of the public aged 18-35 years. The participants nominated themselves for consideration to be taken on board a flight to space scheduled next year. The 38 nominees will be offered not only the once in a life time opportunity to fly to space but also take part in a three year long management contract
Osonuga is one such lucky nominee and will possibly join the short list of Nigerians that have traveled to space. He is also a 2015 WIRED Innovation Fellow, and is one of the speakers at the forthcoming WIRED 2015 conference happening October in London.
Osonuga is also an exemplary example of humanitarian act. During last year’s tragic Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he was a volunteer at the African Union Ebola response team for a period of six months in Sierra Leone.
It would be important that the first Nigerian ever to fly to space was Stella Felix; a 17-year-old schoolgirl who has applied for the zero-gravity flight. As cited by BBC, Felix was set to fly 10km (6 miles) above the ground on the G-Force one, before dropping while experiencing about a minute of weightlessness.
The flight Felix took part in was a parabolic flights conducted inside the Boieng 727 normally used as training exercise for astronauts. The flights have been given the name “vomit comet.” Although they never leave the Earth’s atmosphere, they do simulate the space experience.