OC students thrilled to speak with International Space Station Commander Michael Hopkins via ham radio

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Students from Red Hill Lutheran School in Tustin got their chance to ask the commander of the International Space Station questions on what it's like to be in space.

Ethan Javert was one of the first students to ask Commander Michael Hopkins a question. He asked what goes through his mind when taking off.

"Hi Ethan, that could be a very scary time when you're taking off because you're sitting on lots of fuel there. It's basically a controlled explosion," Hopkins said.

Hopkins and the kids were able to communicate using ham radio technology. It took about a year of planning for the the kids to have a few minutes with the astronaut.

Sara Bridgman is the teacher who took the lead in organizing the talk with the space station.

"This last year has been just really exciting with a lot of anticipation. All of the teachers have been working hard planning lessons, our staff has been doing tons behind the scenes for the kids to prepare for this," Bridgman said.

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Wednesday's talk with Hopkins has some of the kids excited about a future in space exploration.

"Yes In the future I do want to be a NASA astronaut when I grow up. And it's fun studying about science and all about space. I really enjoy it," said student Luke Batarse.

"I think it would be cool to go up in space, look down and see the Earth," student Sydney Hoag added.

But a career in space isn't for everyone. Five-year-old Olivia Esparza said she wants to keep her feet firmly on the ground, saying she wants to be a dentist when she grows up.

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