Leeds students reach for the stars

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TWO Leeds students are reaching for the stars as they compete in a competition that’s out of this world.

University of Leeds students Nadav Eldar, 23, and Joshua Ratcliffe, 21, could become real-life astronauts and have already beaten one million other hopefuls to make it to the final four from the UK in the Lynx Space Academy competition.

The pair travelled to the USA on Monday for the final part of the competition, which will see them take part in a series of gruelling space training missions, from experiencing pressure four times the force of gravity to piloting a plane.

The winners will break the sound barrier, flying 103 kilometres at the maximum airspeed possible in a space shuttle.

The engine will then cut off and they will see Earth as only 500 people have ever seen it before.

The lucky space cadets will experience weightlessness in zero gravity before beginning the descent back to Earth.

Over 100 other recruits from more than 60 countries are currently competing at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral for the chance to receive one of 23 coveted tickets to space.

Speaking earlier this year, Joshua said: “To have been chosen to go to Space Camp in America is unbelievable.

“I study physics with astrophysics so this can’t really get much better.”

Nadav also said: “To be given the chance to actually enter space is incredible.”

Joshua, a budding guitarist, and Nadav, a philosophy and Japanese graduate, are joining Oliver Knight, 25, an operations engineer from Worcestershire, and aerospace engineering student Jocelino Rodrigues, 19, from Bristol, to make up the UK’s four finalists.

To find out more about the competition, visit: www.lynxapollo.com

A British Rail Class 155 diesel multiple unit (DMU) at Leeds station. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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