Local Newsome Graduate Wins Chance To Watch Launch Of CRS-9 Rocket

By Michelle Colesanti

The future of the U.S. space program has been moving forward since the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle missions in 2011.

FishHawk resident and recent Newsome graduate, Jacob Fullerton, was one of 50 people who were selected out of 2,000 applicants to receive full press access to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) when the Space X CRS-9 rocket launched on July 18 to carry cargo and biomedical experiments to the International Space Station.

Fullerton was able to watch the launch from only four miles away with all of the other members of the press. The major news stations had their press sites about 100 ft. away.

This was the closest viewing site for the launch, and almost next to the site where the first stage of the rocket landed. According to Fullerton, from that close you could feel the ground vibrating due to the immense sound. 

“We were just about as close as you can get without the sound literally killing you; you must be at least three miles away. However the most sound came from the landing of the first stage of the rocket, which was even closer than the takeoff. This launch was the first time a land-based landing of a rocket was attempted,” he added.

Fullerton found out about the program through NASA’s Snapchat and applied to the program as a social media representative. “The main basis of my application was that I have taken two years of TV production classes at my high school and also have around 4,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel where I have posted videos in the past,” he said.

During his visit to KSC, Fullerton also toured launch pad 39B, which is where the shuttle missions and some of the Apollo missions launched. It is currently being remodeled so that a rocket to Mars can be launched there. During his visit, he also got to see the Vehicle Assembly Building where all rockets are assembled, the building where the space station was made, and finally the launch site of the CRS-9 on the day of launch.

Fullerton’s future plans include attending the University of Virginia this fall. He had to do some scrambling to change hotel reservations so that he could attend as it fell at the same time as his college orientation.

“I will definitely consider Aeronautical engineering as an option in the future,” said Fullerton. Since he doesn’t have to officially choose a major until his second year of college, he has some time to think about it.

For more information on Space X, visit www.spacex.com.