Royal Docks air and space centre to train future astronauts

an artist's impression of IASTI London City.

An artist's impression of IASTI London City. - Credit: IASTI London City

The next generation of astronauts could be trained in Newham with the opening of an air and space centre.

The International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI) will be based at the London Design and Engineering University Technical College (LDE-UTC) opposite London City Airport.

It is to provide training for pilots, astronauts, engineers and ground staff.

The centre is the second in the UK, with LDE-UTC teaming up with London City and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA for the project.

Along with IASTI Newark in Nottinghamshire, IASTI London City will welcome its first students in September.

Shireen Ali-Khan, associate director of IASTI London City, said: "The pandemic has created a serious shortfall in the number of aviation professionals being trained.

"But aviation is ready to take off again and we need to make sure the next generation is ready to step into these roles.

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"It goes much further into the future as more astronauts are required, and the pilot pathways provide the basis for any future space training.

"This is about forward-thinking and planning and making sure talented students don’t slip through the net because they believe this type of education and training is out of their financial and social reach."

Ayslan Anholon, head of flight operations and training at Embraer, said: "We are glad to partner with IASTI for this great initiative.

"Without question, this will be an exciting chance for many young students who love and dream of the aviation world."

Alison FitzGerald, chief operating officer at London City, said: "This partnership with IASTI is particularly timely as we recover from Covid-19 and plan for a sustainable future, with young east Londoners at the heart of it."

Students between 16 to 18 years old can choose from three career pathways - pilots, engineers and ground dispatchers. They will be educated to higher qualification or degree level and trained to industry standards with apprenticeships also available.

Geoffrey Fowler, principal of LDE-UTC, said: "This exciting partnership will bring yet more opportunities for the young people of Newham and London."