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Kansas Students Meet First Native American in Space Dec. 6 for

Former NASA astronaut and children’s book author, Commander John B. Herrington, Chickasaw, will be at the Cosmosphere on Tuesday, December 6.

At 10:00 a.m., Herrington will teach students from districts in Cosmosphere’s LaunchLearning program about the process for naming stars and planets, and about how names can express culture.

At 1:30 p.m., Herrington will sit down with K-3rd grade LaunchLearning students for a very special story time. He will read from his own book for young children, “Mission to Space,” published by Chickasaw press and available for purchase in the Cosmosphere gift shop.

Students from anywhere in Kansas can join either of these events free via livestream. Teachers can contact schools@cosmo.org for access instructions.

Also on December 6, Herrington and Cosmosphere staff will film a video submission to an International Astronomical Union competition to name a star and planet. Their proposed name for the star and planet will be revealed that morning and will have Chickasaw cultural significance. The video will become part of the classroom materials available through the LaunchLearning program.

Commander John B. Herrington is a retired Naval Aviator and engineer who holds a PhD in education. He now devotes himself to teaching others about the importance of understanding and caring for the Earth through science and exploration. In 2002, Herrington launched aboard STS-113, the sixteenth space shuttle mission to the International Space Station. He became the first NASA astronaut from a federally recognized tribe to fly to space.