May 5, 2019

National Astronaut Day thoughts from Zach

I currently attend Fort Collins High School, home of the Lambkins. One of our few mottos is “Once a Lambkin, Always a Lambkin.” There have been many notable graduates, but one that we are particularly proud of is Dorothy Marie “Dottie” Metcalf-Lindenburger. Dottie’s picture hangs in many places throughout the school – the main hall, the science hall and many classrooms. This appreciation is because she’s an astronaut. A Lambkin in space and we couldn’t be happier to have her in our history.

Dottie graduated from Fort Collins High School in 1993 and went on to earn a degree in Geology and finally becoming a teacher. While teaching high school she was faced with one of the most common questions about spaceflight, “How do you go to the bathroom in space?” Not knowing the answer Dottie turned to the great resources at While researching this question, she found an advertisement for educators to become astronauts. She jumped on the opportunity and applied. About a year later she was accepted into the astronaut training program where she went on to fly on the STS-131 mission. She was in space for over 15 days.

I feel inspired by Dottie’s story because it’s one of the most impactful representations of #YouCantGetItIfYouDontApply, a common theme with Higher Orbits, but also a common theme in life. Dottie’s example is a reminder to try your best and jump at opportunities. I am extremely grateful for Dottie’s connection to Fort Collins High School.

I’d like to wish Dottie a Happy National Astronauts Day, and I’d like to encourage you to reach out to the astronauts in your life. If you know them or are just inspired by them, send them a tweet or a letter at:

NASA/Johnson Space Center
CB/Astronaut Office
Houston, TX 77058

This post was written as a part of #HigherOrbitsInAustralia. If you would like to help five lucky high schoolers attend the International Science School in Sydney, Australia this summer, please consider donating. Any amount helps.

(Written by Zach Pickerel)

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