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LIBERAL, Kansas — Colonel Jeffrey Williams knows what it’s like to be in the stars, and he shared his experience with the residents of Liberal.
“Pretty amazing to be up there orbiting the Earth and seeing what we can see up there. It’s also pretty amazing to be in a weightless environment and working and living in that environment as you orbit the Earth every 90 minutes,” said Col. Jeffrey Williams, astronaut.
Williams is a veteran of three space flights spending almost a year of total time aboard the International Space Station.
In addition to his lecture at Seward County Community College, Williams also visited Liberal’s middle schools to encourage math and science education.
“It’s important for our future. What we often take for granted in terms of technology and what we have in terms of supporting life has come directly or indirectly from the space program or equivalent programs in the Department of Defense.”
Community members say they were excited to have an actual astronaut among them to be able to learn about what it’s actually like in space.
“We feel real fortunate, it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime experience here in Liberal. We don’t always have a person of that caliber out here,” said Duane Dunn, Seward County Community College President.
“Sometimes the public has come to the conclusion that NASA has shut its doors and we’re no longer in the space business, but that’s not true, we’re continuing to operate,” said Williams.
A message that came through loud and clear to the people who met him in Liberal.
Williams originally came from a small town of about 300 people in Wisconsin and says he makes it a priority to encourage people in small towns to chase their dreams.