Astronaut orbits Air Force Week science day

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • Air Force News Agency
A former major and astronaut provided the opening remarks for the Air Force Week New England Science Day Aug. 21 at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord, N.H.

Astronaut Jay Buckey, who in 1998 served as a payload specialist aboard NASA space shuttle flight STS-90, said he was happy to see so many young minds attending the event.

"My favorite part of being here is being able talk to students who are trying to decide what they want to do in the future," he said. ""I think it is great to see so many kids out here and learning how interesting science can be."

The astronaut, who is now a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, served as a flight surgeon in the Air Force Reserve before joining NASA. He said the Air Force is a great example for how scientific advancement is key to the success of the country.

"We are a nation with a great history of technology and innovation," he said. "You look at the Air Force and you see that a lot of our success is due to our science and technology." 

Activities at the science day included a robotics display, a model airplane display, an interactive satellite systems display, a life supports system demonstration, an F-16 Fighting Falcon static display and the building and launching of miniature rockets.

"I have had had a lot fun today and I really like space," said 10-year-old Luc-Henri Laplante. "I would like to do something like this again."

The science day, which is one of several Air Force Week New England events, included displays by numerous military units. Mr. Buckey said seeing all of the people in uniform reminded him of his time in the Air Force.

"The military is about teamwork and leadership," he said. "I learned a lot from how my units would pull together to meet challenges."

New England is one of six locations to host an Air Force Week. Air Force Week events reach beyond the normal open house as Airmen reach out to communities of major cities in an effort to highlight the Air Force's role in today's military operations as the service approaches its 60th anniversary. 

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