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Around 200 students from Wheat Ridge High School participated in a live, NASA Education Downlink event with Astronaut Raja Chari from the International Space Station. 

The Feb. 18 event was the second time since 2016 that Wheat Ridge High School has been selected for the program. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter wrote a letter of support to bring this event to the school. 

During the Downlink, students’ pre-recorded questions for Commander Chari were answered live from the International Space Station. Those questions ranged from Commander Chari’s experience in space to his motivation behind becoming an astronaut and how he trained for the mission.

Perlmutter has been a vocal advocate for the U.S. Space Program, a return to the moon and ultimately seeing U.S. astronauts reach Mars.

“I’m incredibly thankful to NASA and Wheat Ridge High School for working with my office to do this again. This is an awesome experience and I hope it serves as inspiration for these students as they think about what they want to study and accomplish in the future,” Perlmutter said.

Former NASA Astronaut Lee “Bru” Archambault also joined the event to talk about his experience. Archambault is former American test pilot and former NASA astronaut. He has logged over 4,250 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft. He also flew two Space Shuttle missions, as pilot of STS-117 in 2007 and as commander of STS-119 in 2009. 

Astronaut Raja Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. The Iowa native graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degrees in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He continued on to earn a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He is currently serving as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the ISS, which launched on November 10, 2021.