NASA sends astronaut from San Carlos up into space

June 14, 2011 9:09:25 PM PDT
NASA continues to gear up for the final space shuttle launch, programmed for next July, and among the last astronauts to go up in space is a local guy.

Rex Walheim grew up in the Bay Area, attended Cal and is among the final four NASA astronauts to go on a space shuttle. Walheim remembers staring up at the stars from his boyhood home in San Carlos and relished the chance to look down on the peninsula city from space.

"I got the binoculars out and it worked like a champ. I could see the streets where I grew up and I could see the San Carlos airport and stuff. It was an amazing thrill to think that when I was a kid sitting down there in San Carlos, looking up at the airplanes flying over, here I was flying in a spacecraft at 25 times the speed of sound, 200 miles up. It was an amazing experience," said Walheim.

Walheim has flown on two previous space missions and this time plans on taking a Cal rugby jersey up with him.