TRALEE woman Mags O'Sullivan's bid to become the first Irishwoman in space is taking off and she's now soaring up the leaderboard in a competition to earn a place on a commercial spaceflight.
The competition was launched by deodorant company Lynx and is offering entrants the chance to win a place on a flight with space tourism company SXC which will take then 103 kilometres up into orbit.
After a public vote the 200 entrants from Ireland and the UK with the most votes will go forward to take part in a challenge in London where they'll be whittled down to a final four who will take part in the final selection and training programme in Florida.
Mags, who is manager at Tralee Aquadome, is looking well placed to win a spot in the London Challenge and is currently sitting pretty at 27th place in the overall leaderboard with voting die to close on April 30.
The Caherslee native says she has always dreamed of making it to space and she has already come close to fulfiling her life's ambition when, in October 2011, she became the first Irish woman to fly to the Edge of Space in a MiG 29 Fulcrum when she took a trip with adventure tourism company Incredible Adventures.
Her campaign to get into space got a huge boost last week when RTÉ featured her on its Nuacht, Six One news and the 9 O'Clock News broadcasts last Thursday.
After her appearance hundreds of people logged on to the Lynx competition website to vote for her and she quickly jumped from 43rd spot to 27th place in the league.
She's also been getting help from the talented film and video students at Fás who have already made two videos with Mags, which have attracted hundreds of views on YouTube and Facebook, to help promote her campaign.
Mag's has also been in regular contact with astronaut and Twitter sensation Chris Hadfield whose messages and photos from the International Space Station have attracted millions of followers worldwide. As it happens only last week Hadfield posted a stunning photo of Tralee as it appears from space (see panel).
"It's going great and it was fantastic to be on RTÉ last week. It gave the campaign a good bump," said Mags.
"It's all be fantastic so far and I'm getting great support from everyone I meet. There's actually an awful lot of excitement about it. I think people are entertained and excited by it and its a good distraction from all the recession doom and gloom," she said.
"Hopefully, I make it. It would be great publicity for Tralee, Kerry and Ireland," said Mags.
If you'd like to help Mags fulfil her dream and make sure the first Irishwoman in space is from the Kingdom just log on to www.lynxapollo.com or follow the links from the Mags O'Sullivan Lynx Flight to Space Facebook page and place your vote.