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Kopernik reacts to SpaceX launch

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Kopernik 2

(WBNG) -- NASA is preparing to launch four people to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX rocket, and a Johnson City native is going to make a big impact.

This flight will mark the first for SpaceX since their rockets were certified to carry astronauts.

The Kopernik Observatory and Science Center in Vestal say they are excited for the launch, as it presents an opportunity for them on the ground to communicate with those up on the Space Station.

Kopernik director Drew Deskur told 12 News the four astronauts will head to space aboard a SpaceX rocket, but Johnson City High School Graduate, Dr. Joseph Dervay, is helping the astronauts stay healthy while on the way.

Dervay serves as the Flight Surgeon, and says there are multiple connections that we have here on Earth to space.

"There are 4 astronauts who have come from this area. Eileen Collins grew up in Elmira, Dan Berskowitz grew up in Vestal, the two of those have since retired. Doug Welock grew up in Windsor, and Doug Hurley grew up right here in Apalachin and he was a part of the Demo-2 crew mission," Deskur said.

Deskur also said Kopernik has been able to provide opportunities for kids at their summer camps to speak directly with astronauts on the Space Station through ham radio.

The observatory was able to speak with one of the astronauts who is going on this current mission when they were in space 6 years ago.

"The whole point is to give people the opportunity to ask them questions and get excited about learning and hopefully get some kids who are out on the Kopernick science park to maybe become one of the first people to walk on Mars, we don't know," Deskur said.

He says the long-term hope is to get people on Mars.

The SpaceX mission was initially going to launch Saturday, but has been postponed to launch on Sunday instead.

Abigail Lane

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