Challenger Center Hawaii kicks off anniversary year with visit from NASA astronaut

30-Jan-2018

Students from Ewa Elementary kicked off the 25th anniversary year of the Challenger Center Hawaii with NASA Astronaut Jack D. Fischer. His visit to the Center, located at Barbers Point Elementary, also honored the legacy of Hawaii astronaut Ellison Onizuka and the Challenger Space Shuttle crew.

Students from Ewa Elementary kicked off the 25th anniversary year of the Challenger Center Hawaii with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Astronaut Jack D. Fischer. His visit to the Center, located at Barbers Point Elementary, also honored the legacy of Hawaii astronaut Ellison Onizuka and the Challenger Space Shuttle crew.

“It’s so exciting to speak to kids because you never know what moment will light a spark in them and allow them to chase their passion. I just hope there are one or two that might gather something from this and light a passion of discovery and exploration,” said Fischer. “The most enjoyable experience [of being in Hawaii] has been getting to know the background of Ellison Onizuka – his family, friends and community who made him who he was, it’s so special.”

Fischer served as Flight Engineer on board the International Space Station (ISS) from April to September 2017. He flew on Expedition 51/52 and logged 136 days in space with two spacewalks. The crew studied ways food and medications respond to lypholization or freeze-drying in microgravity, tested the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA), a new solar panel concept that is lighter and stores more compactly, investigated a new drug to fight osteoporosis (NELL-1) and studied the adverse effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity on the heart.

Ewa Elementary sixth grader Yosalynn Lakjohn was motivated by Fischer’s visit, adding, “It inspired me to become an astronaut because of the important scientific data they learn in space. [If I became an astronaut], I would work on experiments to help cure sicknesses around the world.”

Students embarked on their own mission after meeting Fischer, which was a simulated study of Halley’s Comet; the same mission the Challenger Crew was on in 1986. A group of students were transported to Space Station Campbell while the rest of the class assisted back at Weinberg Mission Control on Earth.

Challenger Center Hawaii is the fourteenth learning center in the growing network of learning centers that have been established in the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Korea by Challenger Center for Space Science Education. The Center’s goal is to continue the educational mission of Ellison Onizuka and the Challenger crew by empowering students with the knowledge and tools necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

“There’s not very many people that can say they have had time with a real astronaut and this means the world to our students,” shared Mark Iwasaki, sixth grade teacher at Ewa Elementary. “I remember wanting to be an astronaut when I was in third grade, and his talk inspired me to continue to do the work that I do, to make a difference.”

For information about Astronaut Jack D. Fischer, visit https://go.nasa.gov/2DPs327, and the Challenger Center Hawaii, visit https://challengercenterhawaii.com/.

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: (808) 586-3232

Email: Donalyn_Dela_Cruz@hawaiidoe.org

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