HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — NASA astronaut and Space Camp alumnus Bob Hines spoke to students attending Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS) via a downlink from the International Space Station Monday, September 19, 2022.
More than 140 students from 18 states, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Romania and St. Lucia are attending the annual program for the blind and visually impaired.
Hines attended Space Camp in 1989 and personally requested the downlink to speak to Space Camp students. He is one of two Space Camp alumni currently onboard the ISS. The other is European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who attended in 1995.
"I've always been a space fanatic. I've always wanted to be an astronaut. I had a little, I had a stomach bug a few years ago and I went completely blind. So I was hoping that I could get it and I looked at the requirements for an astronaut and you need 20/20 vision. So I thought that was it until I found out about this camp," said Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students Attendee, Drew Moorman.
Due to his loss of vision, Drew put his dreams of going to space on hold.
"At that point, I was like okay... chances are I'm probably never going to space because you have to have 20/20 vision in each eye... Well, that's the requirements now. In fact, I think there's never been an astronaut that hasn't had 20/20 vision," said Moorman.
Until he made it to Space Camp... Where talk of accommodations being made to get people, like Drew and other Space Camp attendees, like Leo Desantis, who face vision impairment, into space!
"I think it is very important that people with different abilities and with different accommodations are able to go to space and have that experience. So, I think that it's important that we are here and learning about it. So we can eventually do that in our own lives when we're older," said Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students Attendee, Leo Desantis.
Drew and Leo's dreams may change... But one thing remains clear... They will definitely change the world.
"I'm just going to say this, children are basically, they're the people of the future. So anything can happen within the next 20-30 years and we can be a part of it," said Moorman.