San Antonio students watch and learn as Jeff Bezos, crew successfully complete historic space launch

Southwest Research Institute engineer shares experience working with Blue Origin

SAN ANTONIO – As Jeff Bezos and his crew successfully completed a spaceflight, people worldwide watched the historic moment, including San Antonio students at Losoya Middle School and a local engineer from Southwest Research Institute who has worked with Blue Origin.

“It just kind of lets them know that there are so many opportunities out there for them,” said Roberta Tovar, a teacher at Losoya Middle School.

Sixth-grade students in Tovar’s classroom witnessed history this morning.

For 12-year-old Natalia Garza, all eyes were on 82-year-old Wally Funk, who became the oldest person to fly to space 60 years after she was denied the opportunity.

“Seeing that she couldn’t go, like, a long time ago before, up to the moon, and now she can, and she accomplished her dream. It was really nice,” Natalia said.

The young student said she has always been passionate about science and feels she can accomplish anything.

“When I was in third grade, I was in a science fair, and I really, really was interested in it, and seeing today’s video really got me thinking about going to space one day,” Garza said.

Others watching this historic spaceflight included engineer Kevin Supak with Southwest Research Institute. He has worked with Blue Origin, Bezos’ aerospace company, before.

“I’ve actually been there in person, and I’ve gotten to see their launch,” Supak said.

His work includes testing a device that was designed to prevent potentially dangerous vapor bubbles from being transferred to the rocket engine.

Supak has tested this aboard the New Shepard vehicle. They have done two flights so far, and one is coming up.

Supak said it’s great that companies and visionaries like Jeff Bezos are helping people get excited about space again.

“It’s really exciting that these vehicles are becoming more common. They’re launching more often. We can get more science, more critical data that we need for experiments. For the general public, I think it’s exciting for America to be back in space again,” Supak said.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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