Griffith business graduate Tim Gibson is off to outer space.
The 28-year-old, who studied a double major from 2003 to 2005, is the only Australian in a 23-strong contingent to lift off on a once-in-a-lifetime space mission early next year.
The Yeppoon property manager was one of only four Australians selected to travel to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida late last year where 106 finalists from around the world were put through their space academy spaces.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was on hand to offer congratulations when Tim’s name was included in the 23 to go boldly where few have gone before.
“If someone told me six months ago that I would be doing this, I would have said that’s just not possible, but it is happening and so exciting,” Tim said.
Taking to the skies has always been a passion for Tim who studied business management and human resources at Griffith.
He seized the opportunity to incorporate a number of aviation electives into his business studies, including courses on airmanship and aviation management.
He also added an aeronautical twist to his participation in the Griffith mentoring program. The program matches students with experienced professionals from industry and Tim was paired with Terry Brown, general manager of the Business Development Australia division of Boeing Defence.
“That was a great help in preparation for working in the real world. I got a valuable insight into the aviation industry, made some useful contacts and got great advice regarding my career path,” Tim said.
“The aviation electives also complemented my business degree. There were business focused and helped me to understand the industry.”
Tim returned to Griffith a year after graduating to make a presentation to the class of 2006 about how the mentoring program had boosted his career path.
Also after graduation, Tim went after his dream of becoming a pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force. He had secured his student pilot’s licence at the age of 16, and his private licence at 19.
However, his eyesight strength fell agonisingly short of RAAF requirements and he missed out.
Fate and Lynx would intervene to revitalise his dream, and with interest. He was among one million entrants to take part in a worldwide competition run by the Lynx Space Academy with a journey to outer space the ultimate prize.
His first shock came with the call to inform him that he was going to the United States to take part in a strict and comprehensive testing regime.
“I felt very confident during all the tests and did a lot of physical activity beforehand. I was quite fit anyway but started my own intensive training program immediately after my selection.”
Now, he waits and prepares for the journey of journeys, an adventure that brings life and job opportunities he could only have dreamed about six months ago.
“By sharing my story I hope to inspire people to chase their dreams. You never know what’s going to happen.
“I also want to highlight the importance of space. The only way to find out more about infinite growth is to explore infinite growth, and that is what space is all about.”