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Astronaut brings space exploration to Scotlandville High

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BATON ROUGE - An astronaut who spent several months in space brought his experience down to earth for high school student in Louisiana this week.

Richard Mastracchio spoke with about 200 students at Scotlandville Magnet High school Thursday about the time he spent in space and his life as an astronaut. Mastrachio he said he started working as a engineer before applying to NASA's space exploration program 19 years ago.

"I love my job, said Richard Mastracchio, NASA astronaut. "I've always said I've got the greatest job off and on the planet."

Mastracchio showed a video of his recent experience living and working on the International Space Station for six months in 2014, and discussed what it was like becoming an astronaut. He said it took nine years of applications before he was finally accepted into NASA.

"I grew up in Connecticut so far away from NASA centers I did not know where astronaut came from I hadn't even thought about it until I was already an adult I had graduated from college," said Mastracchip. "I realized that NASA was a real place and there were regular people that can go and get jobs."

Many students said hearing about the realities of living and working in space was inspirational.

"I am in love with space,"said freshman Garrinecia Singleton. "I want to go into space, so being able to know what they do, how they feel, what happens is appreciative."

Scotlandville High was the only school in the state to participate in the NASA Rover Challenge competition in Huntsville, Ala.



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