SPRING HILL — Lt. Col. Shane Kimbrough, who this past November walked in space during the space shuttle Endeavour mission, visited Challenger K8 School of Science and Mathematics Friday to return something he had borrowed.
The astronaut brought back the orange and blue school flag that he took into space with him during his recent trip. It was designed by K-Kids member student Logan Chute, whom principal Sue Stoops declared to now be "an international space designer." K-Kids is a middle school service group affiliated with Kiwanis Clubs.
Kimbrough, 41, was greeted by a gymnasium filled with students, the school band and its chorus. He shared a video that condensed the Nov. 14-30 mission into about 15 minutes.
The students saw him floating in the international space station and outside of it in a space suit that weighed 300 pounds. He described how amazing it was to approach the station in the shuttle and how cool it is to be weightless. He said the food is "actually okay."
He mentioned the spiders that were onboard. Their webs seemed confused at first, but then returned to normal as the arachnids adapted to weightlessness.
Kimbrough has been in the Army for almost 20 years and is in his fourth year as an astronaut. He has a connection to Challenger K8. Two of his cousins have children at the school.
During the video, students saw Kimbrough holding the Challenger flag in outer space. The well-traveled school symbol will find a resting place of honor now that it is home.