On Monday 13th November, 41 Year 10 pupils were invited to President Kennedy school to meet a real-life astronaut!
Commander Foale is a British born NASA astronaut who has completed 6 missions into space. During his presentation he explained that his experiences have included; studying the pollution levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, launching satellites, retrieving and helping to fix the Hubble space telescope, and, more importantly, saving the Russian Mir space station from near disaster. In total, Commander Foale has logged more than 374 days in space and carried out four space walks totalling 22 hours and 44 minutes, which is still a NASA record.
Throughout his speech, Commander Foale made it clear that anything is possible if you are resilient and work hard. As well as regaling us with tales of space travel and excitement, he also explained that he did not manage to achieve his ambition first time and had to work hard at school to get qualifications that would help him achieve his dream. Even though he failed to get into the Air Force, he continued with his scientific studies and carried out a number of different jobs, including working for NASA as a payload officer.It took three attempts to get accepted into ‘Astronaut school’ and even then, once qualified, it was a further five years before he got to fly into space and achieve so much. It goes to show that if at first you don’t succeed, you need to re-assess, study hard and find a new way – you will get there in the end.
The Year 10 pupils were a real credit to Stoke Park and true ambassadors for the school. The deputy head of President Kennedy was especially impressed with their manners and the intelligence of the questions they asked during the Q&A session at the end of the presentation.
Overall, a fascinating visit with a positive message – If you believe – you can achieve!