20,000 sign up to be 1st Filipino astronaut

Posted at 03/01/2013 7:39 PM | Updated as of 03/04/2013 3:22 PM
AXE astronaut -- axeapollo.com

MANILA, Philippines – More than 20,000 Filipinos have joined AXE Philippines’ search for the first Filipino astronaut, the company’s brand manager said on Friday.

AXE brand manager Gem Laforteza said the Philippines is among the top 5 countries to join the search.

“I think that’s mainly because this is a big first for our country,” said Laforteza.

The Philippines ranked fifth behind US, Great Britain, Germany, and France. Completing the top 10 countries are Russia, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain.

Two contenders from the Philippines will be chosen by a panel of judges to join 103 others from all over the world at the AXE Apollo Global Space Camp in Florida, USA.

An international crew of 22 astronauts will then be formed and will be sent to space by AXE and international space travel agency Space Expedition Corporation (SXC).

AXE Philippines said there will be one guaranteed seat for a Filipino.

American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, is also involved in the program and has been outspoken about his enthusiasm.

“This is the future of space travel, where ordinary folks could get to experience in some ways what I have,” he said.

AXE said its Axe Apollo Space Academy website www.axeapollo.com has received almost 4 million votes, 200,000 of which were from the Philippines.

“The number of applications we’ve gotten on axeapollo.com proves na hindi magpapahuli ang Pinoy. Everywhere in the country, people are talking about becoming the country’s next modern-day national hero,” said Laforteza.
 
Aspiring astronauts may still submit their entries until May 2013.