A group of elementary students in League City closed out the 2020-21 school year with a virtual visit from some faraway guests.

Young learners at Robinson Elementary School, a Clear Creek ISD campus, spoke May 26 with astronaut Megan McArthur, who is aboard the International Space Station as the pilot of the NASA SpaceX Crew-2 mission. McArthur, a Robinson parent, answered more than 20 questions from Robinson students as they sat in their respective classrooms, according to a CCISD media release.

Through NASA’s STEM on Station program, the agency provides opportunities for students and educators to interact with astronauts aboard the ISS through live question and answer sessions. McArthur taught students why astronauts wear space suits and shared what her favorite views from space are during the live in-flight downlink.

“On Earth we have an atmosphere that we can breathe and is the right pressure for us to survive,” McArthur said in response to kindergartener Quinn Bright’s question about space suits. “When we take our capsule into space we bring that atmosphere with us inside our spaceship. The space suits also keep us safe with air to breathe and the right pressure for our bodies.”

Students learning remotely through Clear Connections, the district’s virtual schooling platform, were also plugged into the downlink, per the media release. When Clear Connections first grader Penelope Hancock asked about views from space, McArthur said she loves looking at planetary, ocean and cloud formations and thinking of her loved ones on Earth.

McArthur’s husband, NASA Astronaut Bob Behnken, was also present and took over for the final few student questions from the Robinson Elementary library. McArthur and Behnken are just some of the CCISD community members with connections to space: six out of the 11 astronauts aboard the ISS have close ties to the district.

These astronauts include:

  • Shannon Walker, Ferguson Elementary parent and the first woman to command the ISS;

  • Astronaut Shane Kimbrough, a former Clear Lake High School parent;

  • Astronaut Victor Glover, a Clear Springs High School parent;

  • Astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who is married to a CCISD team member; and

  • JAXA Astronaut Akithiko Hoshide, who is a parent at Brookside Intermediate.

A recording of the full Education In-Flight Downlink with Robinson Elementary can be viewed here, and photos of the event can be viewed here.