WASHINGTON – Space Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly and mission specialist Mike Fincke, who are aboard the International Space Station, will speak with students from Mesa Verde Elementary School in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday, May 22. In January, a shooting that gravely injured Commander Kelly’s wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killed six people including nine-year-old Christina Taylor-Green who attended the school.
The May 22 event is scheduled to air live on NASA Television at 10:45 p.m. EDT. Due to limited space, the event is not open to media.
During the broadcast, viewers will be able to see both the astronauts and the students. Approximately 400 kindergarten through fifth grade students will participate in the event and learn how the unique environment of space helps advance scientific discovery and exploration.
Astronaut Lee Morin also will be at the school answering questions. He flew on space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-110 mission in 2002, performing two spacewalks during which the station’s robotic arm was used for the first time to maneuver spacewalkers around the station.
“The opportunity allows students to ask astronauts orbiting the Earth questions about what it’s like to live in microgravity,” said Cindy McArthur, Teaching From Space project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “It helps them understand the importance of studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”
The in-flight education downlink is part of a series with educational organizations in the United States and abroad to improve teaching and learning in STEM subjects. It is an integral component of Teaching From Space, an agency program promoting learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of space and NASA’s human spaceflight program.
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Ann Marie Trotta
Johnson Space Center, Houston