One of William King’s first beloved childhood toys was a plastic Apollo space rocket that was “taller than I was.”
“From there, I was always interested in space,” he said.
Now, as director of technology for the Bowling Green Independent School District and the former principal of Bowling Green High School, King will tour NASA’s facilities during events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission that put the first man on the moon.
King has been invited to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of a group of social media influencers to document their experiences meeting NASA scientists, see facilities not open to the public and witness a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch to resupply the International Space Station.
It’s part of the NASA Social program, which is aimed at providing opportunities for NASA’s social media followers to learn and share information about NASA’s missions, people and programs.
The program’s website said special events allow social media ambassadors to go behind the scenes and meet NASA scientists, astronauts and managers, with the same access as traditional journalists.
King said he will visit NASA facilities and facilities used by SpaceX, a private space transportation company. The highlight of his experience will be witnessing the SpaceX CRS-18 flight to the International Space Station from the same launch pad as the historic Apollo 11 mission, King said. The launch is scheduled for Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Central time.
As an educator, King said his goal is to bring the experience back to teachers and students in his district. He’s considering live streaming the SpaceX CRS-18 launch from his Facebook account and offering live updates from other experiences through his Twitter and Instagram accounts (available at @wkingbg on both platforms).
King also hopes to make some connections during his trip, and he floated the idea of coordinating an online question-and-answer session with a NASA scientist or other employee for students once school starts back.
Ultimately, King said, he hopes to take his experience and make it the community’s.
“I’m really excited about getting to participate,” he said.