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'Wish It Wasn't My Only Time': Natomas Teacher Soars Into Stratosphere On NASA Mission

NATOMAS (CBS13) - A Natomas teacher aimed for the stars and you can say she made it. Domina Stamas got to soar into the stratosphere on a NASA mission.

It's a rare opportunity, with only 28 high school STEM teachers selected for the flight. While Stamas is back on the ground, it's clear she's still flying high.

"You're the first person I talked to post-flight, so you're getting all the emotion right now," Stamas told CBS13. "Breathtaking, emotional. I wish it wasn't my only time."

Stamas was near speechless after the flight with NASA scientists, saying it took her breath away.

"I felt like it was just meant to be for me to be up there," said Stamas. "I mean, who wouldn't want to go as high as you possibly can off the surface of the Earth?"

Stamas, a teacher at the newly opened Westlake Charter High School in Natomas, was selected to participate in the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program to get real-world experience to bring back to students.

"I mean, if I could do this, I could do anything. And if I can do this, my students can do this," said Stamas.

Stamas couldn't say enough good things about the scientists and the pilots onboard the flight, saying she was honored to see all the work they do researching the universe. The group shadowed NASA scientists collecting data for research onboard a modified 747 equipped with a telescope. It's basically a flying observatory.

"What we did as educators is we got to learn how the telescope was used to collect images of the universe," said Stamas.

The crew reached 43,000 feet during the nine-hour flight and Stamas says she could feel the change in environment. Everyone was trained on hypoxia, a condition where not enough oxygen reaches the cells and tissues in your body. While everyone carried an emergency oxygen belt, that was the least of Stamas' concerns. Believe it or not, she's afraid of heights. It was definitely the experience of a lifetime leaving one Natomas teacher with lessons she'll treasure forever.

"I just wish everybody in the world could see our planet from above, and I wish everybody in the world knew how unique and special this planet is because we would take care of each other more," said Stamas.

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