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NASA's Atlantis Shuttle will Launch with Jacksonville Teen's Invention

9:14 PM, Jul 6, 2011   |    comments
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Chelsea Partridge aboard space shuttle Endeavour.

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. -- For Chelsea Partridge, it's more that just a summer internship. 

"It was, a dream come true," the 18-year-old said of spending the summer working for NASA.

She had just graduated from Robert E. Lee when she found out she had been selected for the program. "I jumped up and started screaming and everybody started looking at me," she said.

But the attention was okay with her. The news called for a status update.  "They see all my pictures on Facebook, they all know I'm a space geek."

The internship is not just grabbing coffee and making copies. "It's very hands on," she said, "I wear steel toed boots."

NASA also asked her to build something for the shuttle.

"I designed a fixture to help fix their desiccant tubes which they attach to the shuttle to detect poisonous gas," she said.

Rough translation: She built something that helps keep the air the astronauts breath clean.

"It's crazy having designed something for the space shuttle program." 

When she's not worried about stainless steel sheets falling and cutting her toes off, she's getting dirty in the shuttles.  "I was told not to be late to work on Thursday; they said we're going to go on Endeavour," she said.

"We got to climb to the flight deck and sit in the pilot's seat, I held the joystick and everything."

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