BALDWIN, Nassau County (WABC) — The NASA SpaceX Crew-7 blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Saturday.
Four astronauts from four countries are rocketing toward the International Space Station. Among them is Long Island native, Jasmin Moghbeli.
The crew’s SpaceX capsule is expected to reach the orbiting lab on Sunday, trading places with four astronauts who had been living up there since March.
For Moghbeli, this is the launch she had been waiting for.
“I still wake up every morning, and it still feels like a ‘pinch me’ moment to think I’m actually an astronaut right now,” she previously told Eyewitness News.
From humble beginnings at Lenox Elementary School and Baldwin Middle and High schools on Long Island, NASA astronaut Lieutenant Colonel Jasmin Moghbeli is now the commander of the Space Crew 7 mission to the International Space Station.
The launch, originally set for Thursday, was pushed back at the last minute and finally launched before dawn Saturday from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
Lt. Moghbeli, a Marine pilot serving as commander, is joined on the six-month mission by the European Space Agency’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa and Russia’s Konstantin Borisov.
Moghbeli is the leader and the only woman on the crew – all in all, fulfilling her lifelong dream of blasting off into outer space.
And who better to watch this wife and mother of two reach for the stars from Kennedy Space Center in Florida than her first grade and reading elementary school teachers and Baldwin Schools Superintendent Dr. Shari Camhi?
“So proud, excited, hopeful,” said Camhi. “She spent a lot of time with our elementary students and our high school students.”
“What’s it like being back in these halls?” I asked Lt. Moghbeli when she was touring Lenox Elementary School back in March.
“It feels incredible,” she replied. “A lot of it feels the same and very familiar.”
The trip was about revisiting her roots, helping students fall for her first own love, science.
Fifth grader Mia Jones painted a picture that is expected to be on board with Moghbeli during the space flight.
Back on Earth, in her hometown of Baldwin, complete strangers are proud of Moghbeli’s achievement.
“Incredible,” said Tom Hessel of Freeport.
“I want her to know that her whole entire community is rooting for her,” said Alma Kari Kari-Yawson of Baldwin.
Lt. Moghbeli tells me that she will be doing science experiments on objects and on her body to see how humans react in space.
Her crew will perform nearly 200 of those experiments over the next six months.
Oh, and while she’s up there, she plans to call for a live chat with hundreds of students.
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