COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - District 2 elementary schoolers had the opportunity to meet two former astronauts Monday.
The assemblies were actually a preview of what is to come this Friday when they will truly have an out-of-this-world experience.
The kids say they've been waiting all year for this week's space talk.
The two former NASA astronauts, who served in the Air Force, inspired young minds at Thrive Home School Academy and Stratton Meadows Elementary.
General Kevin Chilton and Lieutenant General Susan Helms spoke to students about space communications and travel, space technologies, and their personal experiences.
“Our message was, you know, believe that you can do these things and whether it's STEM or the arts, find your dream and pursue it," Gen. Kevin Chilton said.
This Friday, the students will get to talk directly with the International Space Station via an amateur radio — known as ARISS.
Teachers say the D2 students have studied space, the ISS, and solar eclipses this entire school year; all in preparation for this week's space chat.
“We want students to see that they could be part of this amazing space community. We're here in Colorado Springs, a satellite city. Basically, we have lots of space technologies here, and we want them to be prepared and interested in going into careers locally,” D2 science teacher, Dara Gardner said.
This opportunity is part of a yearlong ARISS grant that is awarded to a limited number of schools across the county.
Between 60 and 80 of these special amateur radio contacts happen every year between students around the globe and crew members with ham radio licenses aboard the ISS.