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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
NASA VIP visit for space centre
The Earth
Students from the college will visit NASA later in the year
A specialist centre for space studies in Cornwall has been praised by a former NASA boss.

George Abbey, who was a director of the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, was a special guest speaker at the Callington Space Centre.

The centre sends students from across the county to work with astronauts and cosmonauts in the US and Russia.

Mr Abbey said Cornwall was setting a great example in teaching its students about technology.

He said working in Houston had always given him a sense of history and he challenged the centre's students to join the space race.

Student trip

The aim of the specialist centre, which opened in 2004 as part of Callington Community College, is to promote interest in astronomy and space science throughout the community.

It was shortlisted for an Arthur Clarke Award in Education, acknowledging its unique approach.

The centre has a room for the public to watch space technology lessons and units to help hi-tech businesses get started.

Director Mike Grocott said about 100 people had attended the public meeting and many of the 40 students had been "stunned" as Mr Abbey outlined the work already being carried out in the space quest.

"George will be our main host when we go to Houston later this year, so it was great for the students to meet him and hear what he had to say," Mr Grocott told BBC News.

Up to three of the college's AS students will be selected for the trip to the US, spending one week at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and one week at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston.

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