SpaceX rocket launch inspires Oak Ridge students to explore space

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) - The launch of the world's most powerful rocket, SpaceX's "Falcon Heavy," is giving a new generation of kids a reason to love space.

In Mrs. Hondorf's physics classroom at Oak Ridge High School, students have a whole new fascination for what's out there in the universe after watching the rocket take off into space. 

"It's really exhilarating," said Bill Andress, an 11th grade physics student. 

Ruth Hammond, a senior adds, "It was kind of awe-inspiring because you're watching this historical moment."

More online: Watch the launch

One of the most jaw-dropping spectacles in the space industry happened during their lifetime.

"Kids our age really haven't been able to see anything like this. So it's nice that we're finally getting to show kids what they could be if they want to," said Andress. 

Decked out in his Occupy Mars T-shirt from SpaceX, you could say Bill Andress has a passion that's out of this world.

"It's the final frontier for people. So we're going to keep on pushing the boundaries and we have to expand outwards since we covered the Earth," said Andress. 

His dream job would be to work for SpaceX one day. "I would actually love that. That's what I want to go to school for, to become an aerospace engineer."

Students were testing the limits of a paper rocket at school on Wednesday. 

"The labs we get to do are so hands on, such as the rocket lab," said Hammond. 

Betsy Hondorf, Hammond's teacher adds, "We talked about the thrust force and how that causes the rocket to accelerate and changes motion, so it was really cool to see that in a big, big format."

Hondorf has been teaching her physics class about the SpaceX launch and how their possibilities are endless if they want to reach the stars. 

 "I'd love to see them all go to space," said Hondorf. "I think they have a bright future and there's just so many opportunities for them, it's pretty exciting."

Several of the students at Oak Ridge High School plan on interning with SpaceX or NASA in the future to start their career in space exploration. 


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