Astronaut's tales of space- and bagels

By James Martin, July 9, 2009

A Nasa astronaut made a happy landing in Kenton where his tales of space travel enthralled the 650 pupils at the Sobell Sinai Primary.

Greg Chamitoff served a six-month tour of duty on the International Space Station last year, working alongside two Russians. The 46-year-old Texan is linked to Sinai through his cousin Karen Diamond, whose two children are pupils.

Mrs Diamond and her husband Julian helped to organise this week’s visit, having previously arranged a live satellite link-up between pupils and Mr Chamitoff during his space mission in September.

Answering questions from year-five pupils, who have been learning about planets and space, he explained that “six months was a long time to be away from my family, but going to space was the opportunity of a lifetime. In 2018 NASA’s looking to land on the moon, so being a part of that is obviously an ambition of mine.”

Inspired by the Apollo 11 mission 40 years ago, he said he had always wanted to be an astronaut. He also revealed that he had taken bagels into space to share with his Russian colleagues. “Some relatives own a bagel store and they gave me some to share out, which was appreciated by all.”

Mr Chamitoff went on to address a parents’ meeting and present the prizes at the leavers’ dinner for year-six children.

Last updated: 9:59am, July 10 2009