Decatur students say they're proud of Starliner launch

Despite the mission going off course, the launch itself was a historic moment many aspiring engineers from Decatur got up early to witness.

Posted: Dec 20, 2019 3:41 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2019 7:30 PM

The Atlas V Rocket that launched the Boeing Spacecraft on Friday was built in Decatur. Despite the mission going off course, the launch itself was a historic moment many aspiring engineers from Decatur got up early to witness. 

"Honestly surprised me because you never thought that something from Decatur, Alabama would be sent into space," a fifth grader, Eli Prater, said.

The Walter Jackson Elementary student got up early, hopped online and watched history. A moment that continues to inspire him to dream big. 

"We all thought the space program was over and we would never become astronauts," Prater said. "But now that they are bringing that back, that's a whole new story that now we can become astronauts."

For fourth grader Dalton Smith, his fascination with space lies in what is unknown. 

"It just goes on forever, so much to discover," Smith said. 

Beth Greene, a kindergarten teacher, said she wanted to share with her students this moment because she remembers back in elementary school witnessing history herself. 

"When the Challenger went off, we all went out in the hallway and pulled the TVs out and we got to watch it, and that was a big part of history," Greene said. "But also, it was important to me just to explain the history of space exploration here in our country."

Greene said her students had lots of reaction and questions. 

"I think when they are little, even five or six years old, when they can see these things happening in real time, in their life, they become a part of that story," Greene said. "Especially with this being from our hometown."

Even though the mission did not go perfectly, it is still an accomplishment for this community. 

"We're so honored to have the honor to have something in space from Decatur," Prater said. 

The United Launch Alliance, which has operations in Decatur, released a statement about the mission. The CEO said the launch was a success, and they achieved spacecraft separation as planned. 

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