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  I met an astronaut!
Updated 05 September 2002, 17.21
Jack meets the astronauts
Jack had a dream come true when his design for the QinetiQ 1 space balloon mission was made into a patch for the astronauts' suit.

Here he reports on what it was like to meet his heroes and see his patch on a space suit with his own eyes.

"I found out about QinetiQ 1 at the end of February. It's so exciting because it's the biggest balloon ever made and it's going where no balloon has ever been before.

It's something that's never been tried before so to me, it's the biggest event this year!

Inspired by pictures

Jack's mission patch design
Jack's mission patch design
My drawing of the patch was inspired by the first picture of QinetiQ 1 that I ever saw - the one with the balloon on the sunrise on the right of the picture.

It didn't take long for me to come up with my design and it only took me about four hours to do.

I've seen every shuttle mission patch to date - every Nasa patch up to the STS113. I get these patches from different sources - I look at them in books and on the internet.

Model space craft

I've not designed one before, this it my first one. But I do copy patches to scale them - it's a good challenge to draw new shapes. I also make models of space craft to scale.

Meeting the astronauts is dream come true for me - Colin Prescott and Andy Elson are the first astronauts I've ever met.

I never dreamed it would be like this - me designing their patch and getting it up onto space on space suits.

Watching closely

When I met them I asked some simple questions, like what are they're going to do with their space suit after the mission - Andy said he's got a place on his sofa for his!

I'll be watching the take off and landing on TV - and recording every update I can.

For me it doesn't end with meeting the astronauts - it's not finished until they splash down safely and are picked up by the trident ship. "

Jack, 16, Bedford

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