Buffalo Public School “Spud Launchers” return from Kennedy Space Center

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York’s finest potatoes are now flying in space. Three students and future scientists from Buffalo Public Schools beat out thousands of students in a national competition. They secured a role in a NASA mission sending potatoes to space. The student’s project will test the ability for potatoes to grow in the international space station.

The girls call themselves the “Spud Launchers.”

“Potatoes can actually grow off one another so it’s not something where you need a lot of work to do like dirt and water. There would be no difference then how it grows up there then how it grows down here,” said Gabriella Melendez, student.

After two and a half years of researching and planning the potato are finally on their way. The SpaceX Dragon lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Sunday.

“It was so fun and it was just a magical moment. It felt like a dream,” said Shaniylah Welch, student.

The rocket was suppose to take off Saturday, but was scrubbed in the last 13 seconds. Instead, the students and their teacher listened to the launch on the radio the next day.

“We turned up the radio and it goes like 5, 4, you just hear it and it’s like ready to take off and it just went,” said Melendez.

“You could feel it, there was an electricity, the girls were screaming, the rockets were blasting on the radio,” said Andrew Franz, Hamlin Park. Advisor.

The students say this experience is life changing.

“I didn’t even know I was going to see those things, I might actually do that when I get older,” said Toriana Cornwell.

For now the young girls are living the cliche, to reach beyond the stars.

“I always think that there is no limit and science there’s really no limit. I was looking up to people at a point in time and it’s life changing to know other people are looking up to me now,” said Melendez.

When the rocket comes back down, the plants will be given back to the students. The students and their advisor will be working with UB researchers in their green house.

The rocket will be in space for 6 to 8 weeks.

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