Retired astronaut shares stories as Siegfried Space Week begins

TULSA, Okla. — The first day of the Siegfried Space Week, hosted by the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, began with retried NASA astronaut Paul Lockhart sharing stories about his career to a group of elementary students.

Lockhart spend 9 years at NASA, starting from 1996, and has logged 26 days in space. This career includes two space missions in 2002 to the International Space Station.

He also was a U.S. Air Force test pilot for F-16 aircraft.

Overall, Lockhart has logged more than 5,000 hours in 30 different aircraft including space shuttle.

Lockhart said his goal is to use his experience as an astronaut to inspire students.

”The best thing I can do is pass on what was given to me when I was young, the sense of adventure and wonder that space technology can bring and they give me that opportunity to do that for younger generations.”

Students from 3rd through 5th grade spoke told us what it was like to hear retired astronaut speak about his experiences.

One student said, “I learned so many things it was so awesome, I want to be an astronaut and go into space and see some beautiful stars.”

“I think like making the rockets was really fun and fill like shooting them is going to go well,” another student said.

Ginger Forrester, a 5th Grade Teacher at Inola Elementary, said, ”They’re learning a lot of different things, learning how to get electricity to pass through them to get things to light up so they’re having a lot of fun.”

Lockhart will also be answering questions from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the 2022 Siegfried Space Week Community Night, Thursday May 12.

The Siegfried Space Week, May 9 to May 13, is about offering students interactive space themed activities to bring awareness of aviation and space careers.

The event is free, but space is limited and registration is required on tulsaSTEM.org.

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