May 30, 2020
Anticipation is the word for today. No matter how many times NASA has launched the Space Shuttle into orbit, and no matter how many setbacks or tragedies we have endured as a country, there will always be those whose hope is undimmed, and whose hearts and minds thrill at the challenge of spaceflight. It is exciting to see the Space X endeavor which will reignite enthusiasm among students, especially those able to participate in the rebirth of the Young Astronauts Program.
Young Astronauts began in 1984 and was a STEM program with 100,000 chapters across every state in the U.S. and around the world. Developed by NASA to encourage extra-curricular study in areas related to the space program, it eventually fizzled out after 9/11 when government priorities changed. In September 2018, the elementary school program was relaunched in NYC’s schools, libraries, museums, and children’s hospitals. Students are able to once again experience grade-level material written by NASA, in science, technology, engineering, and math.
The space shuttle program was retired in July 2011, so today marks the first time a private company will run Mission Control. Space X was founded by Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who is also the CEO of Tesla. His Crew Dragon capsule will be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket, both built by Space X. Two astronauts, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken will be aboard. If this flight is successful, the Crew Dragon will be able to ferry astronauts to the ISS, the International Space Station.
It is my hope that many students can experience the joy that I had participating in the Young Astronauts Program in the 1980s. We did experiments and calculations, watched the Voyager II flyby of Neptune, and many of us were able to attend the Space Academy camp in Huntsville, Alabama. I have always been fascinated by space, which is why I wrote the book, “God Made the Moonlight.” This charming read-aloud for little ones is meant to instill wonder at the changing aspects of the moon, and all of nature. There is no higher honor than to inspire children to reach for the stars. This week, in tandem with the Space X launch of Crew Dragon, you can grab my book, which is discounted on Aerbook here: https://aerbook.com/maker/productcard-5332143-7956.html