Centaurus grad speaks to school from International Space Station
Astronaut Jack Fischer spoke about his Warrior pride & experiences in space
Students at Centaurus High School had the opportunity to talk directly
with NASA Astronaut and Centaurus alumnus Jack Fischer on Thursday, Aug.
31, while he is circling high above the Earth in the International
“I think it
is so cool. It is probably one of the best experiences I have had in my
life so far,” said Centaurus senior Ian Jorquera. “It is not an everyday
event when you can talk to not only someone who came from Centaurus,
but is in space right now. I think that is so cool.”
Expedition 51/52 flight engineer and Air Force colonel graduated from
Centaurus in 1992. Fischer earned his Bachelor of Science in
Astronautical Engineering at the Air Force Academy and received a Master
of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT).
half-hour event, Fischer answered several questions from students at
Centaurus. The only rule was that the answers could not be something
that you could simply Google, so Jorquera asked how astronauts protect
their equipment and themselves from the impact of solar radiation.
the atmosphere is what blocks a lot of the solar activity, I was
wondering how they can counter it,” Jorquera explained. “I learned that
they can’t counter it completely and have to deal with the effects.”
Fisher was originally expected to interact with students via a video feed, but flooding from Hurricane Harvey impacted the NASA’s Johnson Space Center, changing plans. Instead, the astronaut spoke via a voice connection over the Internet and the students didn’t mind a bit.
“I thought it
was really amazing. It was an opportunity to show kids who may not
necessarily be involved with this really cool stuff that is going on in
space,” said Centaurus senior Daniele Reardon.
In this age
of technology, Reardon paused to think about how amazing it was that
they were talking to someone who is orbiting more than 250 miles above
the Earth’s surface.
of the things I noticed and was surprised with was that there was a
little delay between when you would ask a question and when the answer
would arrive,” Reardon said. “It was a small thing, only seconds, but
you notice it. It made you think about the fact that they are hundreds
of miles above you.”
talk, Fischer spoke to the gymnasium filled with students about the
experiment that Centaurus had launched into space. The International
Baccalaureate students at the school designed the experiment to test how
grows in space, specifically in the gravity that can be generated on spacecraft.
he was the one that conducted it and seeing all the photos he has taken
with our experiment is so cool,” said Abby Schmid, 2016 Centaurus
graduate who worked on the project and now attends the University of
Schmid explains, it actually was the second version of their
experiment. The first was lost during a launch failure, while they
watched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“Watching it all literally go up in flames was very hard,” Schmid said.
The students didn’t give up, however. Despite the setback, they tried again.
“We were able
to make our experiment even better, which was great. Also, the timing
worked out pretty well. It wouldn’t have been up there at the same time
Jack, if it wouldn’t have exploded. It all worked out in the end. I’m just glad that we eventually got it up there,” Schmid said.
has already been returned to Centaurus, where students are analyzing the
data. The research may have impacts to future manned space flights,
like those proposed to Mars.
In the next
few days, Fischer is expected to return from the International Space
Station. Based on the cheers on Thursday, he is most certainly a hero at
his alma mater.
we have walked the same halls as someone who is now at the
International Space Station is really cool,” Schmid said.
“This is someone we can relate to,” Reardon added. “This astronaut didn’t come from some super rich family 3,000
milesaway. He came from the same school. I think that is really amazing in terms of inspiring people.”