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> Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC AMSAT A/C #31468
>> Shuttle pilot connects with Golden Hill students; Astronaut Mark Kelly
>>                    promises to wave as he passes over
>> HAVERHILL, MA When  space  shuttle Atlantis blasts into orbit this fall,
>> there's  a  chance  it will be carrying a T-shirt signed by children 
>> in two
>> Golden Hill Elementary School classrooms.
>>   But  if  NASA astronaut Mark E. Kelly cannot get permission to 
>> carry the
>> shirt  on  the  ride,  he  promised  to  at  least  wave to children 
>> as his
>> spacecraft passes over Massachusetts during its 11-day mission.
>>   Third-graders  in  Mary  Larcome's  class  and  fourth-graders  in 
>> Joann
>> Atwood's  class  plan  to  follow  this adventure as it unfolds, 
>> especially
>> after their questions about space were answered by Kelly, a Navy 
>> commander,
>> who will pilot Atlantis.
>>   Kelly,  40,  went  to college with John and Terri Zaino, the 
>> brother and
>> sister-in-law  of  Judy  Zaino,  supervisor  of  elementary  
>> curriculum for
>> Haverhill's public schools.
>>   John  and  Terri's  nephew  and  niece,  fourth-grader  Joshua 
>> Zaino and
>> third-grader  Lia  Zaino both attend Golden Hill. They and their 
>> classmates
>> recently  asked  Kelly  a  number  of  questions, including "What 
>> does zero
>> gravity feel like?"
>>   They  e-mailed  their  questions to John Zaino, and he in turn 
>> forwarded
>> them to his friend Kelly.
>>   "It  feels  like  you're  going  over  the  top  of  the  roller 
>> coaster
>> initially,"  Kelly  responded.  "Then  you  get  used to it and you 
>> can fly
>> around the spaceship like Superman. It is a lot of fun!"
>>   Third-grader Haylee G. Krenzer, 9, was surprised by his response.
>>   "It sounds scary," Haylee said. "I'm not going into space, it 
>> sounds too
>> scary."
>>   Third-grader Brianna L. Moses wondered if astronauts ate dehydrated 
>> food
>> and wondered what if they ate would taste good.
>>   Kelly  said that shrimp cocktail is one of his favorite things to 
>> eat in
>> space,  along with Mexican scrambled eggs, chicken in peanut sauce, 
>> "and of
>> course, the spinach."
>>   "I  don't  think  spinach  would  taste  that good," Brianna said 
>> with a
>> grimace. "I don't like it that much."
>>   Third-grader Jared W. Huberdeau, 9, wondered what it is like to 
>> lift off
>> from the launching pad.
>>   Kelly said it felt "like a runaway train going 1,000 miles per hour."
>>   "I'd  like  to do the launch part, but not the landing," said 
>> Jared. "If
>> they don't come in at the right time they burst into flames."
>>   Larcome  saw the connection between her school and a real astronaut 
>> as a
>> perfect  opportunity  for  her  students  to  practice their letter 
>> writing
>> skills.  She  said  this project generated a lot of enthusiasm as it 
>> made a
>> connection to a real event that will take place.
>>   "They  love to do anything that's not routine," Larcome said. "They 
>> knew
>> there  was  a  chance  that Kelly would write back, which made it 
>> even more
>> exciting."
>>   Fourth  grade  is when children begin learning about space and the 
>> solar
>> system,  so  communicating  with  a  shuttle  pilot  was  a chance to 
>> learn
>> firsthand from an expert.
>>   "It  makes  it really meaningful to make this connection and follow 
>> this
>> mission," Atwood said. "Children really feel they are part of it."
>>   Fourth-grader  Hayley C. Duquette, 9, wanted to know if it was 
>> difficult
>> to  walk  around  wearing  a spacesuit but didn't think she'd really 
>> get an
>> answer back.
>>   "He's  a  very  busy  man  and I'm surprised he answered our 
>> questions,"
>> Hayley said. "You really need to be smart to be an astronaut."
>>   Joshua  Zaino  thought it was cool that his uncle put his class in 
>> touch
>> with  an  astronaut and hopes he can travel to Florida this fall to 
>> see the
>> launch in person.
>>   "I'm 50 percent sure I'll be able to go," Joshua said.
>>   To make this project even more exciting, children in both 
>> classrooms are
>> signing  a  Golden Hill T-shirt they plan to send to Kelly in hopes 
>> he will
>> take it into space with him.
>>   "If he can't, at least he will have the shirt," Larcome said.
>>   Kelly's brief bio:
>>   Kelly  is  a  graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He 
>> served as
>> the  pilot  for  STS-108 (Space Transportation System) Endeavour 
>> (Dec. 5 to
>> 17,  2001),  the  12th  shuttle  flight  to  visit  the international 
>> space
>> station. He is assigned as the pilot on STS-121, the first mission of 
>> space
>> shuttle  Atlantis since Columbia's mishap on Feb. 1, 2003. He has 
>> performed
>> one  space  walk  and has traveled 4.8 million miles orbiting the 
>> earth 185
>> times in 283 hours and 36 minutes.
>>      Questions posed to Cmdr. Mark Kelly by children in Mary Larcome and
>> Joann Atwood's classes, and the answers they received:
>>   Q. What does zero gravity feel like?
>>   A.  It  feels  like  you're  going  over  the  top of the roller 
>> coaster
>> initially.  Then  you  get  used to it and you can fly around the 
>> spaceship
>> like Superman. It is a lot of fun!
>>   Q.  What  will  you  do  while orbiting the Earth in space? What is 
>> your
>> mission?
>>   A.  We  will  work  inside  and  outside  of  the space station. We 
>> will
>> transfer  a  lot of cargo. We'll also test new capabilities that will 
>> allow
>> us  to  repair  the space shuttle thermal protection system. We're 
>> flying a
>> brand-new  boom that will attach to the robot arm and allow us to 
>> reach the
>> underside  of  the  space shuttle to get access to all of the tiles. 
>> During
>> our  first  spacewalk  we'll  test this new boom. We also have some 
>> science
>> experiments on board.
>>   Q. If you squeeze toothpaste in the space shuttle, will it float?
>>   A. Everything floats ...
>>   Q. How long does it take to orbit the Earth in the space shuttle?
>>   A. Ninety minutes for a lap around the planet. We'll do a lot of 
>> laps in
>> 12  days.  We'll probably travel about five million miles but why 
>> don't you
>> do that math and let me know.
>>   Q. What kinds of food do you eat in space?
>>   A.  There are about 500 things on the menu that you can choose 
>> from. One
>> of  my  favorites is the shrimp cocktail. I also like the Mexican 
>> scrambled
>> eggs, the chicken in peanut sauce and of course, the spinach.
>>   Q. Is it hard to walk in a spacesuit?
>>   A.  The  suits  we  launch in are called launch and entry suits. 
>> They're
>> probably  about  70  lbs.  so  it is hard to walk into and out of the 
>> space
>> shuttle.  The suits that we do the spacewalks in are about 700 lbs., 
>> but we
>> only wear those in zero gravity so then they don't weigh anything.
>>   Q. Do you lose weight in space?
>>   A. I think I lost a couple of pounds. It was mostly water weight 
>> because
>> in  "zero-g"  your  body  gets  rid  of some water. You get very 
>> dehydrated
>> because  as  the fluid shifts in your body due to lack of gravity 
>> your body
>> thinks  it has too much fluid. You urinate that extra fluid out when 
>> you're
>> in space.
>>   Q. What does the launch feel like?
>>   A. Like a runaway train going 1,000 miles per hour.
>>   Q. Does the space shuttle have different rooms?
>>   A. Three. Flight deck, mid deck and an airlock.
>>   Q. When you go over us, can you wave to Golden Hill School?
>>   A.   I  don't  have  any  idea  where  Golden  Hill  is.  I'll  
>> wave  to
>> Massachusetts.
>>   Q.  Did  you  really  go  to  college with Josh and Lia Zaino's 
>> aunt and
>> uncle?
>>   A. I really did go to school with them. We were even in the same 
>> company
>> and dormitory building and are really good friends.
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