Shooting for the Stars: My Journey to become Ireland’s First Astronaut

Norah Patten was 11 years of age when she visited NASA on a family holiday to the United States. From that moment on she decided she wanted to be an astronaut and become the first Irish person in space. Shooting for the Stars is Norah’s story, in which she tells us all about her life, how space travel works and what astronaut training is really like.

Norah’s journey to the stars began with that trip to NASA which inspired her to study aeronautical engineering. From there she went on to study at the International Space University and is now one of 12 participants selected to take part in a unique scientist-astronaut training programme called Project Possum.

Norah’s knowledge and experience are enthusiastically shared on every page with fascinating facts and information to be learned along the way. Anyone curious about space travel and life in zero gravity is in for a treat as Norah answers many important questions such as what do astronauts eat in space and where do they go to the toilet.

At all times it seems like Norah is talking directly to us and the accompanying colourful, cartoon-like illustrations by Jennifer Farley are a perfect match to this conversational tone, making this a highly accessible and most enjoyable read.

Norah’s personal story is also compelling as she outlines her path to date, emphasising the work, determination and self-belief involved in placing herself at the forefront of potential future astronauts. Her story is one that many young people will not only enjoy but also find inspirational as Norah encourages everyone to follow their dream and work hard to achieve success.