Students Talk With Astronauts In Space

Students at three Houston schools got a chance to speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station today. The Houston schools were alma maters of astronaut Shannon Walker. Bill Stamps has more on today's big event.
Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineer Shannon Walker
 Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineer Shannon
Walker answer questions from students in Houston, Texas.
Credit: NASA TV
 
Some 220 miles away from Earth, aboard the International Space Station, American astronauts Shannon Walker and Doug Wheelock talked with students in Houston who had lots of questions.

"My name is Javier Bosso and I’m a 7th grader and Johnston Middle School and my question is for Doug Wheelock. Doug, “What happens if the space station systems break down and how do you fix them?"

Students from Parker Elementary, Johnston Middle School and Westbury High watched a live two way feed from space. Johnston Middle School Assistant Principal Amber Pinchback was instrumental in making the event happen. She says although astronaut Shannon Walker is from Houston, the initial goal was to have a talk back with any astronaut aboard the space station.

"We had to write a proposal saying what we would do; why this is important; how we would work this into our curriculum."
 
Physics teacher Nicole Diluglio says space travel itself isn’t in a big part of the curriculum but the space station has come up in their class work.

"We’ve been working on some calculations for velocity and acceleration, so the last set of accelerations problems we did all had to do with things related to the International Space Station and how velocity and time and accelerations are all related."


It’s still unclear in what direction NASA and American space flight is headed as Congress and the Obama administration work out a compromise on the future of the space program; however, none of that was on the minds of the students. They were just excited to be able to talk with a real astronaut and even better one that went to their school.