Sophomores, juniors and seniors from Santa Fe High School visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center July 24 and 26 for behind-the-scenes tours of the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF), Mission Control Center and Sonny Carter Training Facility’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL). In addition, students met with divers, flight directors, and even astronaut Suni Williams.
At each stop, the students were greeted warmly by Johnson team members. At mission control, a green banner emblazoned with “Welcome to Mission Control - Santa Fe Strong” replaced views of the station’s interior across the center screen in the Flight Control Room to welcome the special director’s guests.
The NBL offered the attendees a deck walkthrough and virtual reality simulation of the pool. In the SVMF, students toured the interior of several modules to see how astronauts live and work in space. Throughout the visit, students had a chance to learn about benefits of space exploration and NASA’s plans for the future.
Students also learned about NASA’s internship programs and received advice on aligning plans for college with a future at Johnson. Asked if they had considered careers in the space program, several volunteered an interest in engineering and biology. Other students were interested in the path to becoming a flight director.
Meeting with Williams stood out as a highlight for Seth, one of the younger tour guests.
“The whole day was mesmerizing and so interactive,” he said. “But my favorite part was hearing about Suni’s experiences firsthand.”
Sent home with their very own swag bags of NASA stickers and gear, the students were encouraged to look to the future and return soon.
Johnson’s commitment to community informs all that we do. In the spirit of solidarity, we wish the Santa Fe high school students well as they embark on a new school year.
Astronaut Suni Williams describes her work aboard the International Space Station as students tour the SVMF. Image courtesy of Santa Fe High School Yearbook.
An NBL diver hosts a question-and-answer session with students about the spacesuits astronauts wear when training underwater. Image courtesy of Santa Fe High School Yearbook.
Students go for a digital swim with the NBL’s virtual reality simulator. Image courtesy of Santa Fe High School Yearbook.
NASA Johnson Space Center
Mission control goes green and displays a “Welcome to Mission Control – Santa Fe Strong” message for students touring from Santa Fe High School. Image courtesy of Susan Anderson