Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

July 28, 2011

TERS reps watch the last historic launch of the Space Shuttle program

By Lailani Upham

(L to R) On board and heading south to Kennedy Space Center in Florida from Missoula International Airport is Two Eagle River seventh graders, Ethan Baker, Keyan Lefthand and Two Eagle River School Seventh Grade Teacher, Allen Bone. (courtesy photo)
(L to R) On board and heading south to Kennedy Space Center in Florida from Missoula International Airport is Two Eagle River seventh graders, Ethan Baker, Keyan Lefthand and Two Eagle River School Seventh Grade Teacher, Allen Bone. (courtesy photo)

PABLO It was the last launch of the Space Shuttle's 30-year program and Two Eagle River School seventh grade students, Ethan Baker and Keyan Lefthand and their teacher Allen Bone staked their spot with "powwow chairs," front-and-center this month at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and they weren't alone.

An estimated one million spectators were camped in and around the Kennedy Space Center for what Space Coast Office of Tourism executive director Rob Varley called, "the world's greatest tailgate party."

The three TERS representatives watched the last blastoff of a U.S. space shuttle Atlantis with excitement and amazement only a few miles away from the launch site on July 8.

What led up to the once in a life opportunity was through an earlier link from last year between Salish Kootenai College and the University of Idaho.

(L to R) Young boys, Ethan, Keyan and "space shuttle-watching buddy," Trever Theis, have front row VIP seats at the Kennedy Space Center on launch day of the space shuttle "Atlantis" on Friday, July 8. (courtesy photo)
(L to R) Young boys, Ethan, Keyan and "space shuttle-watching buddy," Trever Theis, have front row VIP seats at the Kennedy Space Center on launch day of the space shuttle "Atlantis" on Friday, July 8. (courtesy photo)

The NASA "Summer of Innovation" program was introduced at Salish Kootenai College last year through Dr. Lori Lambert, SKC professor of Medical Ecology and Anthropology and space camp consultant, when the NASA Space Academy was hosted at the SKC campus, and support from the University of Idaho.

The Space Academy was part of the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, which was one of four states chosen to participate in NASA's SOI program.

The ISGC's proposal was allocated to underrepresented populations and was awarded a full grant for three years for Idaho, Montana and Utah regions.

It came as a pleasant surprise to Bone when word came from Ed Galindo from the University of Idaho, who also was responsible for organizing the launch, that a TERS team learned of the trip just a number of weeks prior to the actual Atlantis lift-off.

The students were selected on good merit and interest in the space, and the math and sciences, according to Bone.

(L to R) Ethan Baker, Allen Bone, and students from the Wyoming group, Kylee Myers and Martina Greenhaw, along with Keyan Lefthand, stand underneath the famous "NASA" landmark. The TERS lads connected with other groups with the "Summer of Innovation" University of Idaho project during the trip, Bone said. (courtesy photo)
(L to R) Ethan Baker, Allen Bone, and students from the Wyoming group, Kylee Myers and Martina Greenhaw, along with Keyan Lefthand, stand underneath the famous "NASA" landmark. The TERS lads connected with other groups with the "Summer of Innovation" University of Idaho project during the trip, Bone said. (courtesy photo)

Ethan Baker said his goal is study to become a mechanical engineer after high school.

Credit goes to TERS for providing partial financial support for the boys' journey. The first day was spent touring the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center, Bone said. They also visited Universal Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park and.

Besides the launch, and the space simulator at the Space Center, "The Incredible Hulk" ride at Universal Studios was the thrill of Baker's southern expedition.

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