Carol Vorderman 'thrilled' by role with space science education programme
Carol Vorderman is "thrilled" to have been appointed to the board of directors of an education programme set up after the Challenger space shuttle tragedy in 1986.
The TV personality will sit alongside seven astronauts, representatives from Nasa and spaceflight companies as part of her new role at the Challenger Centre for Space Science Education.
On Thursday she will take part in a live link to the International Space Station from San Antonio in Texas.
On January 28 1986 the Challenger shuttle exploded on take-off, killing all seven astronauts - five men and two women - on board. The crew's families decided to carry on the spirit of their loved ones through an educational programme.
Vorderman, 54, has an engineering degree from Cambridge University and an MBE for her services to broadcasting.
In November last year she was made the first female RAF honorary group captain as an ambassador for the Air Cadets, and next year is planning to be only the ninth woman to fly her own plane solo around the world to raise funds for RAF Air Cadets in their 75th anniversary year, and also for her favourite charities.
Vorderman said: "I'm thrilled and honoured to have been voted on to the board of this amazing organisation and I can't wait to get fully involved.
"To encourage children into science and engineering has been one of my passions for decades.
"The opportunities for children that the Challenger Centres provide is excellent."
She added that space "holds a massive fascination for everyone" and she hopes the project will provide children with the opportunity to look into careers in space.
On Thursday, other new members of the board will also be welcomed, including Lowell Grissom - the brother of Gus Grissom, who died during Apollo 1 testing - and Nasa commander and astronaut Mark Kelly, whose twin brother Scott is on the International Space Station.
Lance Bush, president and chief executive of the Challenger Centre, said: "This new class of board members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organisation.
"Each individual has displayed great leadership and success in their respective industries and I look forward to working with them as we continue our efforts to excite students about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)."