Teacher Carries School Pendant into Space
Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger is making her first trip into space on STS-131 and a pendant from Hudson's Bay High School is going with her.
She was selected for astronaut training while teaching Earth science and astronomy at the school in Vancouver, Washington.
That isn't the only school Metcalf-Lindenburger is celebrating during the mission to the International Space Station. She is taking shirts from Boltz Junior High and Shepardson Elementary, both in Fort Collins, Colorado, along with a shirt from McLoughlin Middle in Vancouver.
Perhaps her most unusual commemorative item is a 2-by-7-inch "Peace Pole" from Bennett Elementary, an International Baccalaureate World School in Fort Collins.
Astronauts are allowed to take a small selection of souvenirs with them into space and most choose mementos that represent their personal journey from childhood to excelling in schools, colleges and academies to professional organizations and achievements.
The crew of STS-131 is no different.
A wide assortment of shirts, patches, flags, medallions and banners are headed into space, representing interests as diverse as the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team to the BBC to the Cultural Center in Trencin, Slovakia.
For Naoko Yamazaki, her commemoratives represent many aspects of her home nation, Japan. For example, three packets of seeds from her hometown of Matsudo City, the Young Astronauts Club of Kanagawa and the Elementary School at Kamakura, are packed inside space shuttle Discovery's lockers for the flight.
Although there are strict size and weight restrictions for the items, the impact they have on Earth can be tremendous. The commemoratives are often presented to the represented school or organization personally by the astronaut in part to fire imaginations.
The Hudson's Bay High School pendant, for example, will be returned to the school in person after Metcalf-Lindenburger returns from space. At NASA's Kennedy Space Center, this is George Diller.