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Long Island Woman Jasmin Moghbeli Welcomed As Newest NASA Astronaut

BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - Some fifth graders on Long Island had a virtual meeting with a new astronaut who went to the same elementary school.

Jasmin Moghbeli is setting an example for students to reach for the stars, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.

At Lenox Elementary in Baldwin, Moghbeli's elementary school photo was displayed next to a photo of her in her NASA uniform.

"She used to, like, be here and now we're here and, like, she could go into space at any minute," fifth grader Aaron Martin said.

Jasmin Moghbeli
Jasmin Moghbeli (credit: NASA)

The students erupted with pride as ceremonies honoring Moghbeli and the newest astronaut class in America was live-streamed into the school from Johnson Space Center, the NASA candidate program.

"In this school, knowing that we had a successful student," fifth grader Jalen Castillo said.

"It inspires you to dream big because you know that anything can happen, even in a small town like Baldwin," fifth grader Channon Dunbar said.

"We see role models all the time, but they're not that many astronauts, right?" said Dr. Shari Camhi, superintendent of Baldwin Schools. "To have our own 'Baldwinaut' in our presence who has walked our halls, lived in our community, shopped in the same stores, is really an inspiration."

The students were able to Skype live with Moghbeli. They asked all about life in the Baldwin schools, graduation, MIT in Massachusetts and Naval Engineering in California.

What launched her space quest, they asked? A book report on astronauts in sixth grade at Lenox followed by lots of Baldwin science courses.

"What was one of the greatest challenges that you faced in your career?" one student asked.

"It's learning to to fail," she said.

After completing more than two years of basic training, Moghbeli is now eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.

Moghbeli was one of 13 chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants.

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