Alumni relay baton to be launched into space

01 Apr 2017

It’s descended to the lowest point on Earth – the Dead Sea in Jordan, it’s visited the Parthenon in Greece, and it’s flown to Brazil. Now the gold Chevening Alumni Relay baton will take a truly giant leap – into space.

The baton will be launched into orbit, travelling with British astronaut Tim Speaks when he returns to the International Space Community (ISC) after spending nine months back on Earth with his family in Houston, Texas.

The gold Chevening Alumni Relay baton will spend six months floating around in the zero gravity atmosphere aboard the space station. The station’s inhabitants plan to take selfies with the baton and it will accompany an astronaut on a daring space walk outside of the station.

The baton will be taken on a space walk by an astronaut

The baton, which looks a little like a rocket, is being sent into space as part of the Chevening Secretariat’s new strategy to promote Chevening Scholarships around the world.

The Chevening Relay aims to encourage Cheveners to collaborate, network, travel, be creative, and take collective responsibility for a common goal. There are two separate relays running concurrently. The scholars' relay takes place within the UK, and the alumni relay has the aim of taking the baton to as many countries as possible in twelve months.

The rules of the relay state that the baton should remain in the possession of Chevening Alumni, but this condition is being relaxed for the six months that the baton will be in space because there are no Chevening Scholars currently enrolled in a space programme.

Artist's impression of the baton in space

Fay K Noose, Chevening Programme Manager, said: ‘We’re thrilled about the exposure that Chevening Scholarships will gain as a result of our baton's trip to space.

‘We encourage ambitious future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to apply to study in the UK with a Chevening Scholarship in 2018/2019.

‘Now we can tell them to ‘aim for the stars’ without any hint of irony.

‘We hope that this will increase the number of applications that we receive for the programme when applications for Chevening open again in August 2017.’