Monday, June 7, 2021

Space Academy for Educators: Day 5 (Summer 2021)


You can find posts from previous days below:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
I woke up early this morning to get ready and pack up to check out of the dorms. This week FLEW by!! I had the best time with an incredible group of people, and got to do a lot of really cool things. Ten-year-old Gretchen was living her best life this week! (And 29-year-old Gretchen had a pretty stellar time too!)

Instead of taking the shuttle, Mel and I drove to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center so I could leave from there to head back to Tennessee after graduation. We had one last meal in the cafeteria before a lecture on International and Commercial space flight. The biggest names in commercial space flight right now are Elon Musk with SpaceX, Boeing, and Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin. Fun Fact: Blue Origin made the first rocket that can launch and land upright.


We made one last stop at the gift shop before heading to the Davidson Center for some team photos before our talk with an astronaut in the Nat Geo theater.

Team Kick Ass
Team Destiny

The whole Space Academy for Educators crew

The astronaut we got to speak with was Don Thomas. He flew on the Columbia shuttle three times, and the Discovery shuttle once. He told us his story about growing up wanting to be an astronaut, and finally being accepted by NASA after his fourth application. Most of the astronauts we heard about were denied many times before being accepted into the programs by NASA - it really shows how important not giving up is when you're chasing your dreams! He also told us about his experiences on the shuttles and what it was like to orbit the Earth. Fun fact: when astronauts use the toilet, there is a button they have to push which turns on fans inside the toilet that sends the waste down since gravity isn't available to do that job. Being an astronaut isn't something that I would ever activity pursue, but I have to say, if NASA called me up and said they had a seat with my name on it, I wouldn't be able to say no!



They told us about how graduation would work, and then we went out into the hallway to line up. There were a few people who had family members come to watch. We went on stage with our teams and were given our completion certificate and our wings. It was a short day, and I know I already said this, but I can't believe how fast it went!!


After graduation, Space Academy was officially over. Mel and Patricia didn't fly out for a few more hours, so we went to Metro Diner for a late lunch (and the best lunch we'd had all week!) We made the joke that it was our first meal back on Earth. We wore our flight suits since we had gone straight from graduation, and there was a little girl there who was so fascinated by it. She must have been about 8 years old, and she wanted to come over and talk to us. It was too cute. 


I dropped Mel and Patricia off at the airport, then headed home where I get a few days to chill before my next adventure! I'm so glad I got to do this - I've only been waiting 20 years! And I'm also grateful that I got to connect with so many awesome people!!


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