Here Coco is practicing asking her question again. I had to take pictures at this time, because I was videotaping during the event, and I couldn't use flash photography.
Here are all the students who asked the questions, with Dottie in the middle in the back row.
The downlink was scheduled to begin a little after 3 p.m., but we were told to be in the VIP room by 2 pm, because then the doors would be closed, and nobody would be allowed to enter after 2 p.m.
The program began with some Idaho dignitaries taking the podium, including Lori Otter, the first lady of Idaho, gave a proclomation, Senator Mike Crapo and Congressman Bill Sali addressed the crowd, and Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and Boise Mayor David Bieter also talked to the kids.
Then Dottie did the "warm up" until the downlink. Then the big event started.
The DCI staff made the NASA connection, and it was a go. As we watched the big screen TV, the four astronauts were introduced by Idaho teacher Barbara Morgan, who was the main reason all of this was made possible.
"Good afternoon, we're happy to be here with you. This is Al Drew, Clay Anderson, Dave Williams and I'm Barb Morgan and we're ready for your first question. Welcome on board the International Space Station."
From asking how fast a baseball can be thrown in space, to how do you prepare for a space walk, the students asked question after question, until all of a sudden, DCI staffer Woody Sobey was making a signal. We thought the downlink was getting cut off before the final students could ask their questions. But the International Space Station did a gimble roll to realign with the satelite signal so they could finish the questions. And they did. There wasn't a dry eye in the place when it was finished.
I received an email from Woody today, and here is what part of it said: "NASA said it was one of the best downlinks they'd seen, so well done to you."
I thought it couldn't have gone any better. Everyone involved was so wonderful from Woody to the Idaho science teachers Kevin and Barbara.
So, once the program was done, the students were sent into the media frenzy, with newspaper, T.V. and radio reporters vying for their attention.
Here is Coco being interviewed by Spokeman Review reporter Betsy Russell. She was also on FOX-12 TV in Boise, and Channel 6 TV station in Boise did a voice over with her question. A crew from an outfit that does documentaries for NASA also interviewed Coco.
And now it is done. Coco is at a friends house in Clarkston, Washington for a few days, and they she'll be home Sunday.
But I know she will always remember the day she talked to the astronauts on the International Space Station.
It is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.
— P. L. 85-568 U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958.