Published: 02nd June 2018
Meet Rohith Tirumalasetty from Hyderabad who lived his dream of becoming an astronaut
Thanks to Honeywell, 325 students from 35 countries got to launch rockets and missiles in the US
Imagine students from around the world getting to play astronaut — launching rockets and space shuttles — the works, basically. Such was the privilege extended to 325 students from 35 countries, 23 of whom were Indians, who got to be a part of the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA).
This two-week programme was conducted at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, courtesy of Honeywell International Inc, the American multinational conglomerate. "It's our flagship programme and it encourages young minds to go beyond," says a Honeywell representative at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Banjara Hills, where we went to meet Rohith Tirumalasetty, the boy from Hyderabad who was one of the participants.
My team members were from Taiwan, Germany, Hungary, Brazil and other countries, which was a learning experience in itself
Rohith Tirumalasetty, student
Tirumalasetty met us in all his finery with his royal blue space suit on and his excitement was palpable, right from the first thing he told us, "It was the best experience I've ever had." He has been a part of the National Cadet Corps and has taken part in several college fests, but this student of Government Polytechnic, Hyderabad, has never experienced something quite like this.
Tirumalasetty wasn't feeling well on one of the days of the programme and as a result, he couldn't take part in the multi-access chair programme, which he regrets
The first day started off on a high note, he tells us, with a speech by former NASA astronaut Robert Gibson. Day two was about rocket making and the rest of the programme continued in this vein, each day more exciting than the previous. But Tirumalasetty's favourite was the Aviation Challenge, where students were divided into two groups and they fired missiles at each other to defend their own land. "I feel that I wasted my missiles though. I could have defended my land better," he says with a hint of dismay.
Let's jump: Happy participants of Honeywell's programme
But that doesn't last long as he starts to talk about his teammate and now close friend, who is from Taiwan. "We still keep in touch over Instagram," he says. We aren't surprised, after all, making friends isn't rocket science.
For more about the company, click on honeywell.com