Jocelino Rodrigues

A University of Bristol student has beaten off competition from 87,000 people to reach the final of a worldwide competition to travel into space.

Jocelino Rodrigues, 19, is one of four UK finalists who will fly to Florida next month for at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre.
The ultimate UK winner, along with 21 successful entrants from around the world, will experience Earth from in 2014.

Grooming brand Lynx launched the global competition in January, with the help of famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was the Lunar Module Pilot in the Apollo 11 mission which achieved man's first lunar landing in 1969.

Jocelino, a 2nd year Aerospace Engineering student, was one of 87,000 entries from Britain and Ireland all eager to win the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He received enough public votes to reach a shortlist of 250 people, who had their mental and physical limits tested during an intense weekend at Westfield shopping centre in White City, London, over the summer.

Gruelling challenges included a giant inflatable assault course used by the British Army, a question and answer session with a panel of judges and a test to see who could fly a drone through a hoop and land it in the fastest time.

Jocelino, who's from Portugal, emerged in the top four and will fly to Florida on 1 December to compete for the ultimate experience. His face currently appears on a billboard near Bristol temple Meads station, highlighting his achievement so far.

Jocelino, who is keen to work in the space industry once he graduates, said: "I'm very excited to be spending a week at NASA for astronaut training while competing for the chance of going into space. Flying in a fighter jet, going on a zero-G flight and trying out the centrifuge are some of the tests I'll be undertaking that week. It will truly be a unique experience and I can't wait. I'm focused on giving it my best and enjoying the experience."

A total of 22 global places are up for grabs, with the competition running in 77 countries around the world.

The winners will break the sound barrier while flying 103km into space at the maximum possible airspeed. When the aircraft is at its 'apogee' – its furthest point from the planet – they will experience weightlessness in zero gravity, while enjoying some stunning views of Earth.