Apalachin astronaut heads to space

Local News

VESTAL, NY – An Apalachin native will play a significant role in America’s return to space Wednesday.

Owego Free Academy graduate Doug Hurley is heading into space Wednesday as part of a mission to the international space station.

The SpaceX ship will be the first manned flight aboard an American-made vehicle since the final flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in July 2011, during which Hurley was the pilot.

Since then, American astronauts have traveled to space on Russian rockets.

After launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida tomorrow, Hurley could remain in space for anywhere from 1 to 4 months.

Kopernik Observatory Executive Director Drew Deskur says local children could wind up with an opportunity to speak with Hurley on the space station if the timing is right.

“One of the particular things about this mission with SpaceX is that, depending on a number of things, right now, they don’t know when Doug is coming back. It is entirely possible that in mid-August, when we have our scheduled ham radio contact with the ISS, Doug may actually be on board,” says Deskur.

The observatory will carry video of the launch tomorrow at kopernik.org.

The live stream will begin at 4 PM, and the launch is currently scheduled for 4:33, though weather could impact the timing.

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