Penticton women’s NASA program takes flight again

It appears Story Time from Space may have a happy ending after all.

Patricia Tribe with one of the books by Jeffrey Bennett. Her Story Time From Space literacy program suffered a setback when the rocket with equipment to be used in the program exploded. Since then several agencies have stepped in to help.

Patricia Tribe with one of the books by Jeffrey Bennett. Her Story Time From Space literacy program suffered a setback when the rocket with equipment to be used in the program exploded. Since then several agencies have stepped in to help.

It appears Story Time from Space may have a happy ending after all.

Watching the explosion of the SpaceX CRS −7 rocket on take off in June, Patricia Tribe was afraid the children’s reading program she’d worked on the last four years also went up in smoke.

On board the unmanned, commercial space craft was $70,000 worth of one-of-a-kind equipment which was to be used in the scientific experiments which are a key part of the program.

Astronauts on the International Space Station, where the rocket was going, were to be video taped reading the books and the experiments. Kids on earth connected to the program through the Story Time website would then be able to conduct similar experiments to see how results compare.

Fortunately during the last five weeks a number of agencies have stepped forward to help put the project back on track.

“It’s just been so wonderful to have these people and companies stepping forward to help make this a reality again,” said Tribe who was not about to give up on something she feels so strongly about. “NASA too is doing their best to help us and has said we’re working towards possibly a December flight.

“If we can get everything done by the end of August and get into our testing really quickly which is what we’re working towards.”

Her original concept, one which caught the attention of authors and astronauts, is to bridge what she and others see as a widening gap between science and language skills among students.

Among those helping out are the University of Toronto which is donating a fluid cell and the Waterloo, Ont. based P&P Optica which is providing a spectrometer valued at anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

“They (P&P) said we want to see this experiment up in orbit and they’re a Canadian Company and that’s great,” said Tribe. “Using that we’re going to be looking at light from the sunset through the atmosphere so we can tell what’s in the atmosphere and then we can talk about the issues of global warming and other changes, so that’s really cool.”

Involved once again, as he has been from nearly the start, is Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason who designed the experiments.

With some new additions and changes there will be some additional safety and usability testing by NASA which Tribe is hoping will go smoothly and in time for one of the December launches.

Those interested in the program as it evolves can do so by going to storytimefromspace.com.

“Or just follow along with us, like us on Facebook because the more people we have following, the more fun it is and the more the word spreads,” said Tribe. “Every little bit helps.”