PALATINE, Ill. - A SpaceX rocket that launched Monday toward the International Space Station is carrying an experiment from a boy scouts troop in Palatine.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and - for the boy scouts - represents the culmination of two years of hard work on an experiment which may some day help cure human disease.
"We're sending bacteria, e-coli into space. We want to see the mutation rate," said Harmon Bhasin, of Boy Scout Troop 209.
Twenty boy scouts worked over 5,000 hours to not just fine tune the experiment, but to build a NASA-approved container to deliver it to space.
"I think what they learned is science can be kind of intimidating but I think it's accessible," said mentor Jeffrey Short.
Scouts, family and friends watched the launch from boy scouts headquarters in Arlington Heights. Most of the troop itself was in Florida, witnessing the once-in-a-lifetime experience firsthand.
"We're extremely excited. I don't think that any of us thought that something we would make as boy scouts would go to space," said Ian Malek, of Boy Scouts Troop 209.
It is the first time the Boy Scouts of America have seen one of their experiments go into space. The project has been life-changing for the troops, who range in age from 11 to 18, and is career-defining in some instances.
"He wants to study astrophysics. He's leaving Wednesday as a matter of fact to go to New Mexico tech," said parent Laura Malek.
Monday's launch is just the beginning. Once the boys get the data back from space the next step is to publish the results and present them in front of others in front of the scientific community.