NASA astronaut takes questions aboard space station from students at RAF Alconbury
RAF ALCONBURY, England — Students on base had an out-of-this-world experience Thursday after talking live with an astronaut floating above them in the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut and Army Col. Andrew Morgan answered questions as about 260 students watched him on a big screen at Alconbury Middle/High School.
Some of the students asked questions ranging from how he packed for space (lightly, in two shoebox-size containers) to how he sleeps (a bag holds him in position).
Morgan demonstrated life in zero gravity by squeezing a large ball of water out of a bag. The water floated to the middle of the camera, and then he floated to it and gulped it all down.
Morgan chose to connect with the school in part because of his memories at RAF Woodbridge, where he attended school from 1989 to 1992 for grades eight through 10.
He said in an email to Stars and Stripes that his time as an overseas military dependent has been an asset throughout his career and was “filled with great memories,” including a trip to Berlin during the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“Talking to kids from military families in the (Department of Defense Educational Activity) school system is important to me because I can relate very closely to their situation,” Morgan said in the email. “Growing up in a military family is a unique lifestyle with challenges, but also enormous benefits like building resilience, experiencing other cultures, and making friends around the world.”
Morgan took 23 prescreened questions from students in the elementary, middle and high school grades at Alconbury, a U.K. base where the U.S. 501st Combat Sustainment Wing is stationed.
Students generally said they came away from the experience impressed.
“I’m not a huge space person, but it’s still a super-cool opportunity, because of all the science behind it, and I’m a very STEM-oriented person,” said Kayla Reyna, 16, a high school junior.
Morgan talked with the students a day after swearing in 800 new Army recruits, marking the first time the oath has been administered from the space station.
Morgan has been serving aboard the space station since July as a flight engineer and is scheduled to return to Earth in April.