‘I felt so honored’: Natomas teacher takes to the sky in NASA stratosphere mission

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The Latest – Tuesday, June 29

6:50 a.m.

Domina Stamas posted a message on Instagram late Monday night explaining that the flight has been canceled, and they will try again Tuesday night.

So our flight was canceled but that’s ok! I can’t disclose details but we got to experience how mission directors work with everyone involved including the pilots, scientists, and even the mechanics to come up with a plan for a safe and successful mission. Tonights plan included a canceled flight. The conversations included everyone’s input and everyone worked as a team. The best part is everyone ends up letting go of a plan and rolling with a new one with a positive attitude. This is life! We will try again tomorrow night!

Original story below:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A Natomas teacher is set to take off into the stratosphere as part of a NASA mission that was delayed for a year due to the pandemic.

Domina Stamas, a science teacher at Westlake Charter High School in Natomas, will be getting a taste of what it’s like to be a real-life astronaut as she rides a Boeing 747SP 50,000 feet high into the stratosphere.

To put that in perspective, a commercial plane only flies 30,000-40,000 feet. 

“I want to see what our planet looks like from that high up,” Stamas said. 

Stamas said she has been waiting more than a year to make the journey. 

“My flight week was originally May of 2020,” she explained. “But then COVID hit, so we’ve been just waiting for the opportunity.” 

NASA hand-picked the Sacramento-area science teacher to gather research aboard their aircraft, nicknamed “The Sofia”, using a telescope with infrared technology to take pictures of the universe. 

“Earlier last year, Sofia actually discovered water on the sun side of the moon. It also discovered that Pluto has a very active atmosphere, so Pluto is a planet, guys,” Stamas told FOX40 with laughter. 

Stamas was one of 28 educators selected and trained for the mission and called it a dream turned reality. 

She plans to take her training and experience back to her students where she hopes to spark their interest in a science-based career.

“It’s my job actually, I am an Airborne Astronomy Ambassador so it’s my mission to educate not only my students but anybody and everybody that I can reach,” Stamas said. 

“I felt so honored. Ten years ago, I put it out to my friends, I was like, ‘One day I want to work for NASA,’ and though I’m not getting paid through NASA, I’m getting paid through experiences and this to me just seems just as good as being an employee of NASA,” she continued. 

Stamas and the rest of the crew will descend back to land around 5 a.m. Tuesday. 

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