Rockets Launched, Test Aced, Surf’s Up

It was a busy and exciting week for Aerprize scholars Carmel Byrne and Conor Kennedy.

They plied themselves diligently to studying for their private pilot written exam. To give them a break from the intensity, ACF Business Development Manager Lindsay Kast arranged a much-coveted tour of the SpaceX facility in Hawthorne on Tuesday. She whisked them away without revealing their destination until they pulled in to Rocket Road. Only when the rocket booster outside the facility came into view did they realize where they were going.



“It was a rare opportunity to tour the largest SpaceX facility,” says Lindsay. “Seeing how SpaceX pushes the boundaries of aerospace piqued the interest of this budding astronaut and business professional.”

“My favorite part of the tour was seeing all the different phases of the rockets,” says Carmel. The mission control center held the most fascination for Conor. “Our guide was really knowledgeable, and he told us he works with people from all around the world,” Conor says. That sparked his hope of a possible SpaceX connection in the future.

On Friday, both Conor and Carmel aced their private pilot written exam. They’re too modest to boast about their scores – let’s just say they did exceptionally well. When they returned to ACF from the testing facility, we toasted their success with that famous California appellation, Martinelli’s.

Their written tests complete, the student pilots will concentrate on getting ready for their stage checks this week. They took a weekend break to attend the US Open of Surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier, where they observed other forms of transport besides rockets and planes – surfboards, skateboards and BMX bikes.