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Astronaut visits Warner Robins Middle School | News

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Astronaut visits Warner Robins Middle School

Students at Warner Robins Middle School got a visitor Tuesday afternoon who's been out of this world. NASA Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger stopped by to encourage young girls to become astronauts.

Metcalf-Lindenburger was a high school science teacher in Vancouver, WA when she decided to go for her dream of becoming an astronaut.

She sent her application into NASA and waited. Six months later she got the call.

"We want you to come join the corps and I was like no way I started screaming and my students were all excited because they'd knew I'd been working hard for this all along the way," explains Metcalf-Lindenburger.

At NASA, they trained Metcalf-Lindenburger using the robotic simulators, a neutral buoyancy lab to mirror a space walk training exercise, and she learned Russian.

In April 2010, her dream of going to space came true when she was named flight engineer for a shuttle mission.

"I am the person in between the commander and pilot that makes sure we do all the steps in the checklist. I was a robotic arm operator for the shuttle's robotic arm, and we flew the robotic arm to pick up an extension that took pictures along the wing," says Metcalf-Lindenburger

She was also part of the space walk team, and helped relay messages from the space walk to the ground.

She explains, "Some of these pieces of equipment weigh about two or three hundred pounds and you can just move them along with your finger tips."

Her team helped bring items to build the space station.

She says, "There were thirteen of us up there, six international space station crew members and seven shuttle crew members, so we had a Russian dinner, an American dinner and a Japanese dinner." She showed a video of the crew eating sushi in space to students at Warner Robins Middle School.

They exercised a lot in space to reduce muscle tissue loss and says she even grew taller on the shuttle. "We got anywhere between a quarter of an inch to an inch taller in space."

They went around the earth every hour and a half and saw a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes. "Our favorite thing to do is look out the window. It's such a beautiful scene," she says.

After ten days, they finished their mission and returned home.

"We go from 17,500 miles per hour to 200 miles per hour to stop on the runway," Metcalf-Lindenburger says of the shuttles landing.

She doesn't plan to go back up in space, but will support her fellow astronauts from the ground.
Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger is also a singer in an all astronaut rock band, Max Q in Houston, Texas.
The band's name comes from a space term referring to the moment shortly after launch called maximum dynamic pressure.

The Georgia Department of Education Science Technology Engineering and Math or STEM coordinator arranged her visit to the middle school.


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