Pupils Make Successful Mock Shuttle Flight
NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio (AP) _ The Fantasy I glided to a safe landing Thursday in the parking lot of Royal View School, where the school choir and fifth-grade band welcomed home 18 ″astronauts.″
Inside their school bus-turned-space ship, the adventurers took their heroes’ welcome in stride.
″I was nervous that something would go wrong and I wouldn’t know what to do, but it was OK″ said Alecia Angey, a 10-year-old fourth-grade astronaut on Fantasy I, a school bus painted white and decorated to resemble a space vehicle.
The adventure was part of the Partnerships in Education program between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and two Cleveland-area elementary schools - Royal View and Belden Elementary in nearby Lorain.
The simulated shuttle flight gave the pupils a chance to image what a real mission might be like, said R. Lynn Bondurant Jr., chief of educational services at NASA’s Lewis Research Center in Cleveland.
Pupils went through tests and interviews to become astronauts. The Belden School had its own ″shuttle,″ the USS Belden-Midview Starship, which carried eight pupils.
″I’ve seen kids who wouldn’t normally go to a library in a million years do research and write things for this project,″ said Royal View Principal Jeff Lampert. ″We wanted to give the kids a moment they wouldn’t forget, and I think we accomplished that.″
On Thursday, each school’s ″spaceship″ made a 60-mile round trip that included a stop at the other school and a meeting at an area park. The trips took about 31/2 hours each.
Some of the pupils who remained at school monitored the trip on radio and television equipment set up in the school’s ″Mission Control room.″
There was plenty of adventure, said Larry Zajac, an 11-year-old Royal View fifth-grader and a mission ″explorer.″
″When we went to the other school, it was like an alien place,″ he said. ″Each class had a different planet name, and the kids all wore masks.″
Brian Bazinet, 11, a fifth-grader who was the mission commander aboard Fantasy I, said his job was to keep track of the other astronauts, including their heart rates.
He said other pupils ″thought we were lucky to be chosen, and they were kind of jealous.″
The youngest children played with a ″satellite″ Frisbee and threw a ″comet″ ball, while the older students explored the ″other worlds.″