VAN HORN, Texas — Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan has arrived in Van Horn, and training has began for the space flight he and his fellow crew mates, Lane and Cameron Bess, Evan Dick, Dylan Taylor and Laura Shepard Churchley – who is the daughter of Alan Shepard, the first American in space – will undergo. On the first day of training, the uniforms were tried on and mission control communication training started.
On Dec. 9, the third crewed flight on the New Shepard will lift off and travel 66 miles above earth, before making a return just over 10 minutes after takeoff.
Blue Origin is located in Van Horn, a town with just over 2,000 residents. The space travel company not only focuses on sending people off to space, but also on those who live there – in particular, Van Horn students from pre-K all the way through college.
“There will be several of the engineers or different programmers, they’ll come out to work with our little ones, in kindergarten, help them out with their postcards,” said Ken Baugh, the superintendent of Culberson County Allamoore Independent School District. “They’re very good about how they teach them to think critically, plan.”
For the older students, they hope to influence them to stay in Van Horn, and work at Blue Origin.
“They are very serious about ‘how do we design a pipeline from high school to Blue Origin,'” Baugh added.
The Blue Origin volunteers have started robotics projects, as well as creative design projects for the older students. These give students a chance to learn about the advanced science that the Blue Origin workers do. One of the more notable projects is when Blue Origin asked Van Horn students to design and build a mailbox that would hold letters and postcards to send off to space and back.
“They came to us and said they would like a mailbox. ‘We’d like you to design and build a mailbox’. They were with us every step of the way, because you need to know how to build something like this. And so they did that project and we now have a mailbox to space,” the superintendent said.
The involvement of Blue Origin volunteers is helping to introduce kids to STEM education at an early age, and shows them their dreams can be as infinitely big as space.
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