Local man to pilot shuttle

March 11, 2009 2:59:05 PM PDT
When Space Shuttle Discovery blasts off on its next mission to the International Space Station, a Fayetteville man will be at the controls.NASA postponed the launch Wednesday. They'll try again Thursday.

The mission to deliver a set of solar wings will be the responsibility of Tony Antonelli. He's a Douglas Byrd high school graduate

Antonelli's accomplishments are the talk around campus.

Robert Bass teaches biology at the school. He's also a Byrd graduate. He and his brother knew Antonelli well.

"That was a dream of his ever since he was in high school - actually middle school. He started out dreaming about going into space," Bass recalled.

Across town at Gray's Creek High School, Richard Sneed teaches a physics class. He graduated with Antonelli from Douglas Byrd in 1985. Sneed says Antonelli was just a regular guy with a pretty big dream.

"I'm so proud of him for getting there. It takes a lot of drive and determination to get things like that done. This is not something that just anybody can do. So I'm really proud of him and happy for him," he said.

Douglas Byrd students say Antonelli has inspired them to follow their dreams.

"I think it's a big inspiration because since I was a little kid I've been wanting to fly. That's all I've talked about. And for somebody to actually follow their dreams and get it, that's big stuff," offered student Johnathon Gagne.


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