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  • Sharon Hagle

Winner of National Essay Competition takes flight on Zero G

Brian a twelve-year-old from New York is SpaceKids Global's winner of the National Essay Competition on Why I want to go to space" . Brian is an aspiring astrophysicist who wants to dabble in space law when he grows up. Home schooled by his mother Diane Bartelo a professor at the University of Buffalo, Brian in his spare time teaches English to adults and students after school.

I was a little nervous at first but then thought more about it, and I was excited because most people don’t get to go into zero gravity,” Bartelo said.

He got his ticket to ride by being one of two winners in a national essay contest by SpaceKids Global, a Winter Park non-profit organization aimed at encouraging students in all things STEAM.

He describes his flight as "It was a normal plane ride for about 20 minutes and then they started to curve up really high, then you would feel 1.8 times your body weight,” he said. “And then all of a sudden, the gravity would just go away. And you’d get this weird feeling in your head that is your senses saying, ‘hey, wait a minute, this does not feel right. This is zero gravity."

In the essay, he answered the question of why he wanted to go into space. He now has a much better appreciation of the challenges of working and even living in microgravity.

The zero gravity started when I turned upside down. And my feet were on the ceiling. My brain immediately restructured to think that ‘OK, I’m back on the ground,” Bartelo said.

The seventh grader attends Astra Nova School virtually. It’s a school associated with Elon Musk and housed in SpaceX. He plans on sharing his experiences through the school newspaper.

Would he do it again if given the chance?

“Absolutely. Any day of the week!” Bartelo said.


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