Three Milton Terrace South Elementary School fifth graders watched wide-eyed and giggling as the Space Shuttle Endeavour blasted into space this morning, carrying tilapia eggs that they arranged to have on board.
Dana Betti, Jordyn Catherall and Kate Yager were among 350 students at Ballston Spa Central School last year who submitted ideas for projects to be sent into space by NASA, according to Diane Irwin, the district's K-12 science coordinator.
"We had 72 proposals and a local review board cut the number to three that we submitted for national review board consideration," she said.
Crew members bonded
• Endeavour blasts off on next-to-last flight; congresswoman views takeoff. Click here.
• The six crew members are as tight as brothers after training for two years. Click here to view biographies of the crew members.
Betti, Catherall and Yager sat on the floor on a red blanket stamped with the shuttle image as their watched the countdown for liftoff projected on a wall just before 9 a.m. today.
"Three, two, one," they said with a dozen classmates who had been driven to school before the school buses were scheduled to arrive.
As the shuttle left the pad, the girls broke into screams and applause and Irwin let out a sigh of relief.
She said the delays of the shuttle, which was originally scheduled to launch April 19, had resulted in great disappointment and anticipation for this morning's events.
Betti liked the idea of sending fish eggs into space when the team first got a list of potential experiments that could be developed for consideration.
"I had just gotten new fish and I liked the idea of putting fish in space," she said.
Ballston Spa is one of 16 communities in the nation participating in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program launched by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks, LLC, according to district spokesman Stuart Williams, who watched the launch with students and faculty at Milton Terrace this morning.
The project was sponsored by GlobalFoundries and AmeriCulture of New Mexico, which supplied the fish eggs.