I’m all packed up. My bags are in the car, and in a few minutes my parents will drive me to the airport to leave for the ESA YGT in Noordwijk. It’s a longtrip, and afterwards it may be some time before I can get to the internet again. So in the meantime, I’ll leave you with the letter of application I sent to ESA last December, explaining why I aspired to join the program.
See you from the Netherlands.
To: Applications officer, European Space Agency
From: Raymond Francis
Date: 14 December 2006
Re: Application for Young Graduate Trainee Program
Madam or Sir,
I wish to express my interest in the European Space Agency’s Young Graduate Trainee program. For a young person in my position – a recent graduate in engineering, with a mind as full of the aspirations and idealism of youth as it is with mathematics and science – a training contract with the ESA represents a tremendous and unique chance to learn, and grow, and prepare myself for an exciting career in space technology.
I live in Sudbury, a remote northern city surrounded by Canada’s boreal forest. The closest settlement large enough to be called a city is 150 km away, and much of Low Earth Orbit – including the ISS – is closer than the provincial capital. It’s a surprising spot for a city; not on any major rivers, far from the Great Lakes, cold and wintry. There’s a city here because of a vast mineral deposit; one that exists because of a meteorite impact 1.85 billion years ago. All of the history of this city, its settlement, growth, industrialization, resulting ecological devastation, and the engineered and ongoing recovery of the forest flow from that event. Sudbury is here because of how earth and space and humanity interact, and so am I.
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