Wheat Ridge students talk to astronaut in space

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Wheat Ridge, Colo.-, November 18, 2016 | comments

WHEAT RIDGE - Like any teenager, Kevin McCoy has lots of questions. So, when he found about the chance for a super long distance call, he was excited.

"Being able to talk to an astronaut at the International Space Station, that's something that not many people get to do," McCoy said.

He is a junior at Wheat Ridge High School which was selected by NASA for a video conference with Commander Shane Kimbrough aboard the ISS.

"I think part of it, we're fascinated by space," Griff Wirth, Wheat Ridge High School principal, said. 

Wheat Ridge has a science technology engineering mathematics program better known as STEM, for short. Wirth says these experiences help make his students' education more real.

"It gives them excitement about classroom projects. It gives them excitement about career exploration," Wirth said.

Students asked questions ranging from funny moments in space to exercise routines to technical logistics. McCoy wanted to know what is the toughest thing about preparing to be an astronaut.

"I think the biggest challenge for me, especially in this flight is the time away from home, away from my family and kids," Kimbrough said.

McCoy says he was surprised by the answer.

"I thought it would be more physical than psychological," McCoy said.

That's why they have events like this, Wirth says, so teenagers can see what science is like, for real.

"Really, it's more of an inspiring education than it is a classroom education," Wirth said.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter kicked off the communications with Kimbrough. Former astronaut Steve Lindsey and Tuskegee Airman Colonel James Harvey were on hand to witness the space to earth conversation.

McCoy was already interested in a career in science, but he says opportunities like this make the interests of students grow even more.

"A kid can believe that they can one day reach that goal," McCoy said. 

Content originally published by Denver KUSA on November 18, 2016.
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