Nov 21, 2022

First Native American astronaut at Cosmosphere Dec. 6

Posted Nov 21, 2022 5:47 PM

Hutch Post

Former NASA astronaut and children’s book author, Commander John B. Herrington, Chickasaw, will be at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kan. on Dec. 6.  

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.  

Herrington became the first NASA astronaut from a federally recognized tribe to fly to space. 

At 10 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.  

Herrington will sit down with kindergarten through third grade LaunchLearning students, at 1:30 p.m., for a special story time. He will read from his own book for young children, “Mission to Space,” published by Chickasaw press. 

“Mission to Space” is 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 [email protected] for access instructions.  

Additionally, on Dec. 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.  

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