Kashan Hussain wins elite position of student ambassador for Back To Space program


Photo courtesy of Kashan Hussein

Back To Space: Junior Kashan Hussain, pictured top row, fifth from right, stands with the rest of the Back to Space Ambassadors along with (left to right) the Back to Space founder Danielle Roosa, Apollo astronauts Walter Cunningham Apollo 7, Al Wordon Apollo 15, Charlie Duke Apollo 16, and President Michael Gordon, seated in the front row. “It was really cool getting to know everyone,” Hussain said.

Maddy MacWatters, Reporter

Space has always been a vault full of unanswered questions that many people dedicate their lives to solving. The mysteries of space continuously intrigue kids and adults of all ages, including LSHS’ own junior Kashan Hussain. Hussain had the opportunity of a lifetime when he was accepted to be a student ambassador at Back To Space (BTS). BTS is a STEM program that was open to schools across the nation, giving US citizens enrolled in grades 8 through 12 the opportunity to go to Dallas, Texas to work and interact with Apollo astronauts, listening  to lectures from college professors and meet millionaires.

This highly exclusive program only accepted 25 students in a nationwide search, looking for students who show not only an interest in STEM, but also creativity, leadership, and communication skills. This narrows down the possibility of acceptance even further, all the way down to the elite.

Reflecting on the application process, Hussain said, “An old teacher had told me about the program just a few days before the video application was due. I did the video and didn’t have super high hopes considering I had like two days notice, but obviously I ended up getting in.”

Hussain’s favorite part was his interactions with the other ambassadors.

“I was expecting very formal, disciplined kids, but they were all really fun and relaxed, so it was easy to be friends and have fun with them,”Hussain said.

Not only was he able to speak with other student ambassadors, but he had the amazing chance to interact with Apollo astronauts, especially his time with the Apollo 16 astronaut.

“Charlie Duke was just a really nice guy. He said things that were casual but would make them dramatic, which was really funny. One thing he did was put a picture of his family on the moon and I thought that was really cool,” Hussain said.

The program required a strict schedule, including Q&A’s with astronauts and presentations from college professors, but he claimed that the most valuable information he left with was not the newfound knowledge, but the connections.

“I became friends with astronauts and spoke with billionaires, all of which were really open in saying that if I ever need help with a college application or a reference, I was free to send them an email,” Hussain said.

BTS is releasing a TV show, covering the accomplishments of the famous Apollo program. The high school ambassadors will also be playing a part in the TV show that will be focusing on student accomplishments, in hopes of inspiring the next generation. Though that is not their  final step, they’re also hoping to participate in a private space launch using a commercial space platform. The goal is to send an Apollo astronaut and a student to space after the first season of their TV show.

“There is so much to be learned about space. Space contains so much knowledge we can learn, we just need to do it,” Hussain said for students interested in space.