Chino Roque has been named first Filipino astronaut who will fly into space next year.
The 22-year-old psychology graduate from De La Salle Manila, bested two other Filipinos in the Axe Apollo Space Academy Competition. He will be one of 22 individuals from 60 countries for the 30-minute trip to space in 2014.
Roque was replacement for Air Force pilot Lt. Mario Mendoza Jr., who dropped out of the competition because of conflicts in schedule and to serve the military as a pilot-in-training. He was selected through an electronic raffle and the youngest among the Filipino candidates Evan Ray Datuin and Ramil Santos.
The winners will travel to space onboard the XCOR Lync space plane in 2014.
“Right now I’m very happy that a lot of people have been showing me their love and support. I feel so blessed and grateful to all of them,” Roque said in an interview.