NASA flight director discusses Mars mission during visit to Chalmette High

St. Bernard Parish

FILE – In this April 30, 2021, file image taken by the Mars Perseverance rover and made available by NASA, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter, right, flies over the surface of the planet. Japanese space agency scientists said Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 they planned to bring soil samples from the Mars region back to Earth ahead of the U.S. Perseverance and Chinese missions now operating on the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS via AP, File)

CHALMETTE, La. (WGNO) — NASA flight director Lieutenant Colonel Paul Konyha paid a visit to Chalmette High school to speak with cadets involved in the school’s Junior RTOC program.

The retired United States Air Force officer made a special presentation to students in the Cultural Arts Center sharing some of the history, accomplishments, and vision for the space program. 

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Konyha visits Chalmette High School

Konyha offered insight into NASA’s Artemis Missions which includes a return to the moon in preparation for its ultimate goal – a human mission to Mars. 

As a flight director, Konyha said his job centers on problem-solving and decision-making with two goals in mind — protecting the crew and the spacecraft while accomplishing the mission. 

Lt. Col. David Farley, who leads the JROTC program at CHS, served with Konyha at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California during their initial space operations training in 1996. 

Chalmette High Principal Wayne Warner said he appreciated the visit. “Lieutenant Colonel Konyha’s presentation was impressive and eye opening,” he said. “I think our students got a lot out of it and left feeling inspired.” 

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