Blue Origin flight: Texas Southern University student and aviation professor witness Michael Strahan rocket launch

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) – Should we call him Astronaut Strahan, now?

“Good Morning America” ​​co-host Michael Strahan got his commercial astronaut wings after taking off from the Blue Origin rocket on Saturday morning from Van Horn, Texas.

As Strahan, a Houston native and a Texas Southern University alumnus, made his way to the edge of space, a lucky TSU student and professor were there to watch.

Angel Mata, senior at TSU, and aviation professor Ed Pataky were both on hand to see the magical moment.

“I am completely blown away,” Pataky said before the launch. “I grew up with the space program. I’ve never seen a launch, and now I can.”

ABC13 caught up with the pair after the launch, and it’s safe to say they were just as blown away as they were before the launch.

WATCH: Michael Strahan soars into space; Blue Origin crew successfully lands on Earth

“All you can say is wow,” Pataky exclaimed. “I just came back down to earth. There’s no way to describe it. You must be there. I was absolutely amazed. I’ve seen it on TV a million times, I’ve seen it. million photos, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it in person. “

“What really hit me was when the booster went down and it really started to reverberate between the mountains here,” Pataky continued. “It didn’t just happen ‘boom, boom.’ It kind of resonated, it was something that you have to experience. “

Texas Southern University is the only institution in the state to offer a four-year aviation degree. At least 80 students are enrolled in the program.

“If you think about it, in some of these parts of Houston you will never get a chance to speak to a pilot or an aircraft mechanic,” said TSU director of aviation Dr. Terence. Fountain.
Texas Southern is the only HBCU in the country to offer flight simulation programs.

Mata told ABC13 after Saturday’s successful mission that knowing Strahan was on board as a former TSU only made him more proud.

“It makes you proud of the legacy, you know, of Michael Strahan and other Texas Southern alumni. We are a family, so the camaraderie that we have, no matter what year you graduate, we are. always going to be there for each other so it’s fantastic to be here and see her achievement, ”said Mata.

Meanwhile, Fontaine hopes the launch of Blue Origin will inspire more students to pursue aviation – an area that has historically lacked diversity.

“It’s a beautiful field, aviation. I’ve loved it all my life, so I’m just trying to give back and try to help these kids achieve something that I have achieved all my life.” , said Fontaine. “So that these kids can talk to someone like Michael, who walked down the same hall as him, I think that means a lot.”

SEE ALSO: “Good Morning America” ​​host Michael Strahan’s Blue Origin lineup begins in Van Horn, TX

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