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Space shuttle Endeavour gives these L.A. kids flights of fancy

September 21, 2012 | 10:59 am


At the charter school next door to the California Science Center -– space shuttle Endeavour’s future home --  elementary schoolchildren are busy making airplanes and asking their teacher about the orbiter flying over Los Angeles on Friday morning.

One fourth grade class is talking about rockets, while about 30 fifth-graders are busy learning how to fold airplanes. It's a day made for would-be rocketeers at the Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Jr. Science Center School at Exposition Park.

“But only boys make airplanes!” one student called out.

FULL COVERAGE: Endeavour's final journey to L.A.

"Now, it's not just boys who make airplanes," teacher Dina Williams told her, "there are many women who also work at NASA."

Carefully, slowly, Derrick Carter folds the corners of his blue sheet of paper, making sure the creases are perfect -- space shuttles have to be precise, after all. He's chatting with six classmates at his table about the Endeavour.

"I know it's like kinda old, more than 30 years," he said. "But it has to be past 50 or more years for it to be really old for me."

PHOTOS: Space shuttle Endeavour arrives

Michael Mireles laughs and quickly makes two airplanes for himself, stacking them one on top of another. “Just like Endeavour!” he exclaimed, pushing it through the air.

"The coolest thing I've learned about it is that it's come all the way from Florida to our school," said Ashley Esquivias. "What I wonder is what are space shuttles made out of? I think the outside is made out of a special kind of metal."

"I wonder how the airplane is going to hold the shuttle," she continues.

Jonathan Menendez quickly tells her that "it's easy to attach."

"I already saw it on the computer," he said.

"But that space shuttle is heavy!" Ashley said.

"Not heavier than the airplane," Jonathan retorted. "The airplane's still got a motor.

"I looked for three hours on the computer for information on the Endeavour," he said knowledgeably. "It's going to fly over San Francisco first."

He suddenly turns to an adult in the room. "Is Obama coming?" he asked. "Is the astronauts coming?"


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Space shuttle Endeavour in California: Submit your photos

'Space geeks' welcome shuttle Endeavour to Edwards Air Force Base

-- Rosanna Xia