November, 2009

The last few weeks have been filled with numerous space events. One of the most exciting thus far that I was able to witness was the test flight of the Ares I-X launch vehicle. If you are unaware, the Constellation Program will continue to launch humans into low earth orbit and furthermore, journey back to the Moon and ultimately onto Mars. The Ares I-X test flight marked the beginning of a new era in space pioneering. There were a few clouds near the horizon that were blocking the first portion of the ascent stage but after a minute into the flight, I was able to see the rocket trail. It is a remarkable feeling being able to view this new vehicle, practically the same height as the Saturn V rocket, and it will eventually carry humans back to the Moon and someday onto Mars. Just spectacular!

There will also be an Atlas V launch as well as an upcoming shuttle mission, STS-129, that will be occurring at the end of this week and the beginning of next week. I am most likely going to head down to Titusville this weekend with a few friends to view the Atlas launch but as for the space shuttle, I’ll be in class Monday afternoon. I’ll see if my professor can excuse me for a few minutes so that I can go out and take a peek at the launch.

Embry-Riddle also held an amateur radio contact with fellow astronaut and ERAU alumna, Nicole Stott. She is on board the International Space Station serving as flight engineer for expeditions 20 and 21. Students were able to submit questions but because of time restraints not everyone got their questions selected for the opportunity to speak with Nicole. Nichole stated that she really wanted to elaborate on some of her answers but again, there wasn’t enough time to do so. Supposedly, she will be visiting the campus after she returns to Earth, and will be sharing her experiences of her 3 month stay aboard the station. That I cannot wait for!

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About Stephan

**Career Goals:** To establish a career with NASA **Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I was recommended by a colleague about Embry-Riddle. He mentioned that the institute has the number one aerospace engineering program in the nation.

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