Hartford senior wins trip Kennedy Space Center

Posted at 8:54 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 21:54:30-04

A senior at Hartford Union High School got a trip that gave her memories of a lifetime after winning a contest that could be called out of this world  

17-year-old Olivia Burkholz and her mom Kelly James were among the hundreds witnessing the liftoff of the Falcon 9 Rocket at the Kennedy Space Center this month.  

They were invited by NASA to watch the rocket propel into space. Olivia worked on an experiment that was aboard the flight. 

"We were one of like seven educational projects, ours was to compare how crystal grew on Earth versus in space," Burkholz said. 

She was one of four state winners of the Wisconsin Crystal Growing Contest for the Space Crystal mission. Her mom got the news at work.

"I literally ran out of my room and I was like, you're not going to believe this everybody. My daughter just won first place!" James said. 

"If someone would have told me when I was in college that I was going to have a daughter who had her projects up in space I never would have believed them!" James also said.

Burkholz has an idea of what will happen to her crystals in space.

"We expect them to grow more perfectly in space cause on Earth gravity has affects on growth.." she said. 

The two marvel over witnessing a live rocket sendoff.  

"It was wonderful as a matter of fact she must have told me three or four times to stop crying," said James.

"It's just kind of surreal to be honest. I never thought it would get to this. Knowing an astronaut is conducting the same experiment I worked on in Earth in space is crazy!" Burkholz said.

Burkholz will attend the University of Wisconsin. She's leaning toward a major in biology or chemistry and a minor in Spanish.