SGAC membership has been steadily growing throughout the years. Among our membership there are many incredible young space enthusiasts who should be recognised for their hard work and contributions to SGAC. In December 2009, the SGAC Executive Council decided to acknowledge one member per month for his or her outstanding work and contributions to SGAC and its goals.
We are proud to present the March 2011 Member of the Month: Thu Vu Trong (Vietnam), National Point of Contact for Vietnam.
Awed by the black & white pictures sent back from the planet Mars by the Mars Pathfinder mission of 1997, high school student ThuVu Trong was quickly captivated by space. From the first telescope made with a magnifying glass and his father’s farsighted glasses, Thu built many telescopes using household items and surplus optics over the course of time. In 2002, Thu and his friends founded the first amateur astronomy club in Hanoi, which has now expanded to be a community of amateur astronomers in Vietnam. He joined the Saturn Observation Campaign organised by NASA in 2004 and shared the exciting news and photos from Saturn with many pupils and students during World Space Week, Yuri’s Night and other space events.
In March 2006, he participated as a translator and speaker in the Space Education Forum organised by UNESCO together with JAXA and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. There, for the first time he met and spoke with an astronaut in person - Dr. J. Jacques Favier of ESA, who gave Thu his portrait and the words “Don’t ever let your dream down!”.
In August 2007, after a year of work, Thu submitted his proposal for the ART spacecraft, for the Planetary Society’s Apophis mission design contest. Although his work did not make it to the prize winning level, the proposal made it to the Semi-Finals, making the first cut.
In May 2008, he joined team FredNET – an open source international team competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. The team consists of people from different countries around the world with different backgrounds, but share the same vision (besides winning the Google Lunar X PRIZE) of making space more accessible for mankind.
By the end of 2008, Thu quit his job as a Software Engineer to pursue his dream of space exploration and development by founding the FSpace Laboratory within FPT University. Together with his team of space enthusiasts, they are learning and working hard to design and manufacture a picosatellite called F-1. The satellite carries a low resolution camera, a magnetometer andseveral temperature sensors. Their plan is to launch it into Low Earth Orbit by the end of 2011 onboard Interorbital’s Neptune 45 launch vehicle.
Today, Thu encourages young people to study sciences and promotes space technology application. His favourite quote is “Learn something new every day”.
Yohan Ferreira (Sri Lanka), Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific, nominated Thu:
"I am happy to nominate Thu Trong Vu to be the March Member of the Month! According to his Facebook profile, Thu is "a space enthusiast who wants to bring the sky closer to the Earth". A passionate space advocate, he has actively supported SGAC since being appointed NPoC for Vietnam in November 2009. Thu has participated in promoting and organising SGAC and World Space Week events in his home country and representing the organisation at international events.
Besides observing planets and stars with telescopes, Thu also has an interest in astrophotography and recorded the 2004 Venus transit of the Sun using a Sony Handycam with a welder’s glass taped in front.
A 2009 IAF Youth Grant Award winner, Thu was fully funded by the organisers to be a delegate at the UN / Austria / ESA Symposium 2010 on 'Space Applications to Support the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development' in Graz, Austria. He was a delegate at SGC 2009 and 2010, and Coordinator of the SGAC booth at the 61st International Astronautical Congress in Prague. Thu is an extremely reliable and hard working individual who successfully led a team of volunteers to efficiently manage the booth. He was the first person there and the last to leave, resulting in him missing many sessions and events just so that he could take care of the SGAC booth. The booth looked amazing and was a huge success, drawing many hundreds of visitors during the five day event.
A graduate of the International Space University's 2010 Space Studies Programme in Strasbourg, France, Thu has worked as a researcher at the Space Technology Institute and currently serves as the Manager of FSpace Laboratory at FPT University. His specialties include Project Management (PMP certification), space system engineering, cubesat development, and space education and outreach. Apart from space exploration and astronomy, his other interests include computers, robotics, reading, WWII history and amateur radio. Thu is a tireless volunteer and an invaluable asset to SGAC. We are proud to have him representing Vietnam in the Asia Pacific team!"
And here is our MoM March reaction:
“My first encounter with SGAC was almost two years ago when I was supported by the IAF to attend the 60th IAC in Deajeon, South Korea. It was the first time I met so many young people who shared the same interest for space and with whom I could talk endlessly on favourite topics. The enthusiasm, dedication and friendliness of SGAC members quickly made me feel like I’ve found my “space” family and I simply wanted to contribute my part to the organisation’s overall success. To be recognised as Member of the Month is really an honour for me. Thank you all for the nomination and lets continue working to build up SGAC. Ad astra!”