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Astronaut gives the students the importance of the space program



Air Force Col. Greg Johnson stood in front of a crowd of a few hundred boys at St. Francis de Sales High on Friday School and showed that the under-18s are part of the "space generation".

"For all our lives, we had people who lived and worked in space all the time," Johnson said of the majority of boys in the gym. "They do real research and real technology development."

Mr. Johnson has successfully completed missions to the International Space Station in 2008 and 2011. The NASA astronaut often talks to students and other groups about his time in space and the importance of the space program.

He spoke at the Toledo Club before the event in St. Francis

Mr. Johnson led the students through his career, which began as a pilot with F-15 for the Air Force. In 1990, he was sent to Saudi Arabia, where he completed 37 missions during Operation Desert Storm. Johnson always dreamed of being an astronaut, but never thought it would come true. After his time at the Air Force, he enrolled in the astronaut training program and was selected by NASA to begin training in 1998.

"We were called the penguins – the birds that would never fly," Johnson said. [19659007] Ten years later, Mr. Johnson would fly back into space – this time on the Steering STS-123 Endeavor. His tasks include operating a robot arm to build components of the space station.

Mr. Johnson returned to space in 2011, driving STS-134 Endeavor, the final flight of the Endeavor. He was the leading robotic arm operator as his crew put the finishing touches to the space station.

Mr. Johnson took a handful of questions from the crowd. A student asked about his scariest moments in space.

"We were tied up by a micrometer while flying," Mr. Johnson explained. "It hits the window and makes that grosch-sized impression in the window, four of us rookies look at it like," What's going on? "Then one of the vets comes and says," Oh, that's not big deal. "The wives have heard about it and it has become a big deal."

Mr. Johnson also played a role in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The shuttle crashed on reentry in 2003, and Mr. Johnson was part of the team investigating the cause.

He gathered his family for breakfast on the morning of the tragedy with the idea of ​​seeing the shuttle on television.

"I just looked at my family and said, 'I have to go to work. & # 39;

Senior Cole Grisier, 18, valued Mr. Johnson's passion.

"It really gave me a sense of inspiration in what I want to do with my life and understand where we go as a society," said Cole. "If we can pay attention to what we love, we can really make a difference in the world."

Contact Jay Skebba at jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414 or on Twitter @JaySkebba .


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