Students Get Rare Visit From Real Astronaut - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Students Get Rare Visit From Real Astronaut

Astronaut James Reilly enjoys sharing his experiences on the International Space Station last year. He helped install an Airlock that provides a new front door for the orbiting outpost. Reilly is a rocket man with a lot to share with students about his adventures in space.

Reilly says he has a job that's interesting to a lot of people. The program at Stennis Space Center gives him a chance to talk to young people about physics, sciences and answer their questions about space. Reilly is a veteran of two space shuttle flights and has logged more than 500 hours in space.

The students think Reilly is out of this world. 3rd Grader Tiffany Wake says she got a little scared, because she has never met an astronaut before. Eighth grader Seseme Stanford thinks it was a once in a lifetime experience, because it's not everyday that you get to meet an astronaut. Hancock High Senior Matt Ladner says he sees movies of people in space, and it's fiction. But to actually meet someone who's been in space was phenomenal.

Once the students talk to Reilly in person, they quickly find he's really down to earth. Reilly says astronauts are just regular people who have really cool jobs.

After meeting a real astronaut and learning about life in space, some of the students are thinking about launching a similar career. 5th Grader Lindy Pittman says she has never met a real astronaut before, and just knowing what's going on up there in space, and all around the world, it's kinda cool.

Astronaut Reilly says that dream can come true, if the students keep reaching for the stars. Reilly told the students that the odds were against him when the tried to get into the space program. But he says he found three keys to success: work hard, study hard and don't ever give up.

After the program, Reilly toured Stennis, and met with the employees who test-fire the shuttle engines that helped send him into space.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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