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Local business man talks to students while in space at The Dayton Regional STEM School in Kettering

Larry Connor, a passenger on the recently launched SpaceX rocket participating in a video call with students from Dayton Regional STEM School.
Claire Myree
On Tuesday morning, students from the Dayton Regional STEM School participated in a video call with Larry Connor, a passenger on the recently launched SpaceX rocket.

On Tuesday morning students at the Dayton Regional STEM School spoke with a passenger on the SpaceX rocket that launched Friday.

Dayton businessman Larry Connor did floating somersaults for the auditorium of over 100 ninth graders. The mission is the first to the International Space Station where all of the passengers are private citizens.

Students at the STEM-focused school are currently studying the future of space exploration. Superintendent Robin Fisher said talking to a Dayton-native in space means a lot to the students.

“I think when you see someone who grew up in the same community that you did, you realize the potential that you have. And maybe they can reach for the stars later, too,” she said.

Connor told the high schoolers that they could one day experience space flight.

“Don't sit there and say, I can't do this. Yes, you can,” he said. “We’re hoping by this first mission, which is groundbreaking but also very very expensive, that for your generation we can make it far more accessible and affordable.”

The price for a seat on this rocket was $55 million.

While working at the station Leila Goldstein has covered the economic effects of grocery cooperatives, police reform efforts in Dayton and the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hiring trends, telehealth and public parks. She also reported Trafficked, a four part series on misinformation and human trafficking in Ohio.