Space Exploration Technologies, commonly known as SpaceX, successfully reached the International Space Station Sunday after launching its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft into orbit Friday for its second mission under contract with NASA. But just weeks before, the founder of the first private company to deliver supplies there on NASA's behalf landed an important message to students at Anthony Spangler Elementary School.
"Founder Elon Musk is an inspiration to my students because he is a revolutionary and incredibly successful entrepreneur," Kerry McNaughton, the science specialist at Anthony Spangler Elementary School, said. "Not only did he start SpaceX, but he also started Tesla and PayPal."
Her sixth-grade students decided to write letters to Musk, asking him to visit and speak with them after his company came up in many discussions about science news.
"We sent 70 letters to the SpaceX headquarters (in December) uncertain if we would ever hear a response," McNaughton said.
Afterall, last year some of her students wrote Gov. Jerry Brown, thanking him for banning the sale of shark fins in California. However, they received no response.
She received an e-mail saying Musk loved the letters and couldn't take the time to visit. But a few weeks later in February, seven large boxes filled with gift bags arrived for each of the students to say thank you. Each bag had a T-shirt, pen, patch and wristbands.
So when the rocket took off Friday, it held special significance for the students.
"I think this is an important story because it shows students that their voices can be heard," McNaughton said. "They are powerful and important; people will listen to them."