Former space shuttle astronaut and test pilot Mark Polansky spoke before a crowd of about 300 people at the Maryknoll School Community Center on Monday, February 15. Mr. Polansky talked about his final shuttle mission (STS 127; Endeavour) and the time he spent on a the International Space Station (ISS) in July 2009.
Polansky’s talk described some of the major aspects of the STS 127 mission, including launch, liftoff, booster separation, rendezvous and docking with the space station, space walking, life aboard the station, working as a team, learning and knowing your job, undocking, re-entry and landing.
Before an audience largely of students, youngsters and their parents, he emphasized teamwork and knowing one’s role and job within the scope of a space mission. He used a team sports analogy to get his point across in that the job you are assigned to do “is not for you, but for the team”. In space flight, that is a good point to remember.
The retired astronaut is a veteran of 3 space shuttle flights and is a former military test pilot and trainer. A resident of Houston, Texas, his connection to Hawaii is through his mother, Edith who was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Polansky’s appearance at Maryknoll School was a public relations opportunity for the private school’s MX Scholar Program, where the emphasis is on engineering, science, robotics, computer programing and flight. It’s also a part of the school’s STEM program where science, technology, engineering and mathematics are applied.
After the presentation Polansky stayed to answer questions and posed for pictures with attendees.