U.S. Astronaut Pays Visit To Challenger Learning Center

By: Heather Haley Email
By: Heather Haley Email

A U.S. astronaut gives some children in Hazard an out of this world experience.

Dan Brandenstein worked for NASA for 14 years. Now he spends his days traveling around the country speaking to kids about his astronomical travels.

"The first one was still early in the program, it was the eighth shuttle mission, so it was unique in that you were still testing the vehicle and doing some things along those lines," Brandenstein said.

Brandenstein says he was a part of the crew that was in the first night time launch and he was also on the first launch on the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

He says this year is the 20th anniversary of the Challenger Learning Centers and he says there are about 50 in the world.

"It was started by the families of the crew that was lost on the challenger," Brandenstein said.

Now he hopes to inspire younger generations to aspire to be astronauts.

"The new vision of the space program is really very interesting because we're getting ready to go back to the moon and then on to mars," Brandenstein said.

Stewart Napier is one of many children who came to the Challenger Learning Center to meet Brandenstein.

"I've only met one in my life and it'll be cool to meet another one," Napier said.

But Stewart says there is one reason why he wants to be an astronaut one day.

Brandenstein says if kids study hard in math and science they could be astronauts one day as well.

For more information on the Challenger Learning Centers, you can log on to the website www.challenger.org.

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