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Ory students watch historic shuttle launch

By DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / November 2, 1998

LAPLACE – All eyes were riveted to a television screen Thursday afternoon as students at John L. Ory School witnessed the historic launchof the space shuttle Discovery with 77-year-old astronaut John Glenn aboard.

It’s probably safe to say some of the students’ parents were not even born when John Glenn made the first orbit around the earth back in 1962. Atthat time, Glenn was the oldest astronaut in the NASA space program.

Now he’s the oldest astronaut ever.

Students participated in a mini-history lesson during one of several launch delays.

“Why is the space center named after President John Kennedy?” a teacher asked.

“Kennedy started the program,” a student answered.

“What was his goal?” another teacher continued.

“To have the first man on the moon,” students said in unison.

Cheers erupt at the final countdown and liftoff from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, but some students said they were a little leery about space travel and Glenn’s ability to withstand the shuttle voyage.

“I think he’s too old,” said fourth-grader Joy Swanson. “He might lose airup there.”Fourth-grader Jenna Trosclair said, “I don’t want to be an astronaut. It’sjust too scary.”Some adventurous souls, though, do have their eyes on the skies.

Sixth-grader Lucius Falick wants to be an astronaut and go to Mars.

“I always wanted to know what’s out there,” he said. “If a human hasn’tbeen there, it hasn’t been explored…by humans that is.”Sixth-grader Blake Rexford said he’d like to find out once and for all if there is other life in outer space.

“There’s been so many sightings reported,” he said, “there just has to be life out there. Scientists are just not looking hard enough.”Rexford isn’t worried that John Glenn may be too old for the trip.

“I don’t think there should be any age limit as long as you can survive,” he said.

Godspeed, Blake Rexford.

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