Pupils in out of this world experience

Pupils from Cundall Manor School were treated to an experience of a lifetime following the visit of a former NASA Astronaut.

The school, near Ripon, played host to Rick Mastracchio, at the end of last term to hear all about his experience in space and his career to date.

Rick who is a former NASA astronaut and a veteran of four missions and has logged 227 days, 13 hours, 38 minutes in space, gave two talks to an audience of pupils from 6 to 16 years of age.

Rick’s advice to the fascinated pupils was to excel at their studies, but also to challenge themselves and acquire a wide variety of skills.

His unique and valuable experience on the astronaut selection board later in his career taught him that being an astronaut is not all about academia.

Headmistress at the school, Mrs Amanda Kirby, said: “It is an absolute honour to welcome Rick to Cundall Manor School. It is not every day that you get to meet a person who has lived such an extraordinary life.”

Rick also talked about the value of resilience. Having told pupils that he applied to be a NASA Astronaut nine times, Rick then delighted pupils with his personal spaceflight experience and the history of the space program as a whole.

His message of perseverance coupled with the prospect of commercial space flight in the near future had the school pupil’s inspired.

“Rick’s experiences give him a very unique perspective on life and for him to get on stage at our school and speak to our pupils is an experience that I am certain none of our pupils or staff will ever forget,” added Mrs Kirby.

Pupils from the school also got to ask the former NASA astronaut their own questions including his opinions on how he sees the future of space travel developing. Pupils then got the chance to pose for a photo with Rick.

The visit was arranged as part of Space Lectures’ outreach program. The next in the series of lectures will see astronauts Dr Rhea Seddon and Captain Robert Lee Gibson come to Yorkshire in October.