MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- Students at Stratford Academy got an 'out of this world' learning experience Wednesday. One by one, the students there lined up for their once in a lifetime chance to speak with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
"I was surprised that we could actually make contact and I was very happy that he could answer my question," said 7th grader Michael Hicks.
Hicks and other students in grades 3 through 12 submitted one question they wanted to ask Commander Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space.
Teacher Sara Wolcott said, "We were told that we might not even be able to make contact with them so we made sure to prepare the students and that really we were concerned about the process and if we got a chance to talk to him that would be a bonus, but the process about learning about space and coming up with the questions and learning how to speak publicly was important."
Since the ISS wasn't actually flying over Georgia at a time that would be conducive for the students to speak with Hadfield, the Eagles set up something like a conference call with him.
"An amateur radio operator in California was the one who actually was working the radio and transmitting to the space station and then sending it back to us," said Wolcott.
The ISS orbits the earth at about 200 miles above the surface. The connection wasn't always the clearest and not all 26 students got the chance to ask their question.
"It's kind of disappointing but still I got a chance to hear an astronaut, at least I got to hear that, that satisfied me," said 6th grade student Rushabh Patel.
However, they agreed it's an experience they will not forget.
According to Wolcott, the questions submitted by the students were reviewed by a committee at Stratford, then submitted to NASA for final approval.