West Fargo Astronaut Talks About His ‘Out of This World’ Job with Local Kids
It's the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission putting man on the moon and a local astronaut is sharing his experience at NASA and in space with local kids
WEST FARGO, N.D.– A West Fargo High School graduate is talking about seeing something less than one percent of people have seen: space.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission putting man on the moon and a local astronaut is sharing his experience at NASA and in space with local kids.
“What’s your favorite part about being in space?,” asked one of the kids.
“The view, I could look over Antarctica and you could see the aurora, like the northern lights except it’s in the south, standing like a green curtain, and you could see waves in it and while you’re looking at that we were also seeing shooting stars underneath us,” said retired astronaut Tony England.
Tony England graduated from West Fargo High School in 1959 and went on to get a doctoral degree from MIT.
At age 25, he became the youngest scientist selected to the NASA Astronaut corps.
“Well we had a lot to learn and it was just very much a privilege,” added England. “Essentially the science astronauts back then had to prove themselves.” 11
During his time with NASA he was a support crew member on the Apollo 13 and 16 missions. He was also aboard the challenger mission in 1985, the summer before the shuttle exploded.
He logged 188 hours in space and more than 3,000 hours of flying time before retiring in 1988.
Although he was born in Indianapolis, he calls West Fargo his hometown and he could see it all the way from space.
“I saw West Fargo perfectly well. I could recognize the Sheyenne River going through West Fargo, and highway 94 at night with the lights,” added England.
He says where he grew up helped shape his dreams.
“West Fargo gave we young people a lot of freedom within an essentially safe environment,” added England. “It was a kind of life that kind of led you to really enjoy adventures.” 16
He hopes kids in the area see that they can do anything they set their minds to.
“I hope that the dream that they have, they pursue. Even if one thing isn’t available, there’s something else, and to keep going. I always say a person should have a goal even if they change it every day,” added England smiling.
An exhibit dedicated to Tony’s journey from West Fargo to NASA is on display at the Fargo Public Library until mid–August.