Your Hero on HERA

SOHI Star and Challenger alumna, NASA astronaut candidate, PhD candidate, former ISS Flight Controller and all around inspiration, Tess Caswell reached out to the crew here at Challenger this week and invited us to join her crew on the HERA for a public affairs conference from “space”.  What?!?!  That already sounds awesome… but what does that MEAN?  Tess was selected as an “ASTRO-NOT” for a month-long simulated space mission at Johnson Space Center.  The mission, HERA XI, will include experimenting with a 3D printer, RAISING brine SHRIMP, building a robot, rendezvousing with a comet, and simulating a SPACEWALK.  “This is a separate program from the astronaut selection process, so unfortunately it does not mean that I am any more likely to be selected as an astronaut this time around!  It will certainly look good on my resume, though.  I’m sure it will also be an eye-opening look into what life in space is really like, giving me a more informed idea what my future career path would look like!”

Bright stars can come from small galaxies, and Tess is a shining example of that.  Our potential astronaut-to-be has stated that the power of CLCA is in “its unique ability to inspire.” She added that “For students growing up in Alaska, where opportunity often seems far away, a class or mission with the Challenger Center brings the wonder of spaceflight within reach.”  Though the peninsula may seem small, we have representatives all across the world, and soon all across the universe!  Amazing things start to happen when people are inspired, and we embed that inspiration in every summer camp, workshop, and field trip visit.  Perhaps you will ignite a new path by sending a youth to one of our upcoming camps, and who knows what incredible things that could lead to.  The Challenger crew applauds Tess Caswell as she prepares for her HERA mission, and thanks her for being a pioneer from the Kenai Peninsula, proving that you can come from a small place and still be a great star.  Shine on, Tess!

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