Milford teacher going to space - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Milford teacher going to space

Steve Heck Steve Heck

By Dan Wells - bio | email

MILFORD, OH (FOX19) - The sky is apparently not the limit for one local teacher.

Milford Junior High teacher Steve Heck is one of seven people who will travel to space in coming months.

"I got selected for "Teachers in Space," which is not the NASA program "Teachers in Space," it's a commercial program," said Heck. "The prime difference is I'm not in Houston. Our goal is to put teachers into space and then back into the classroom."

Steve is one of seven people who will travel in space on sub-orbital flights over the next two to four years.

"It looks like a shuttle, but almost like a mini-space shuttle," he said. "It's a space plane. It will be powered over 80,000 feet then the engines will shut off. It will coast the rest of the way and the biggest thing that it has going for it is its re-usability."

The aircraft won't reach orbit, but the teachers will spend time in space, where they'll conduct science experiments.

"We're going to look at anywhere from four to eight minutes to get to altitude. The altitude will be about 320,000 feet," Heck said. "We'll spend anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes in space in zero gravity."

Heck says it is the wave of the future as several private companies develop and test these sub-orbital spacecraft.

"The longest part of the flight is going to be the return," he said. "You take off, in our case from Mojave, California and we'll be returning there, and that takes a lot longer because it's a glided flight from altitude and we're going to need to dissipate a lot of energy the we built up."

He will be bringing home an out of this world experience he can share with his students.

Before becoming a teacher, Heck spent 20 years serving in the U.S. Air Force. He says he flew several different types of aircraft and actually holds two world flight records.

(Copyright 2009 WXIX-TV and Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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