Rocket carrying special tribute to local teen scheduled for launch

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a special tribute to Rhett Hering, the 15-year-old son of McGregor’s mayor whose death in an ATV accident in 2015 sparked the creation of a community-wide service project called the “Rhett Revolution,” is scheduled for launch Monday from NASA’S Kennedy Space Center.

Liftoff of SpaceX’s 12th resupply flight to the space station is scheduled for 12:31 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The launch is scheduled to take place at 11:31am CST. You'll be able to watch it live at: http://www.spacex.com/webcast (It's recommended to begin viewing a little before.)

On July 26, SpaceX placed a “Rhett Revolution” sticker on the interior of the Falcon 9 rocket first stage booster at its testing facility in McGregor.

Rhett’s dad, McGregor Mayor Jimmy Herrng, his wife Lorna and their children, Mara and Ryan, were invited to a hangar at SpaceX's rocket research and development facility in McGregor, to place a “Rhett Revolution” sticker on the rocket.

The Hering family says the gesture honors their late son, Rhett, in ways the charitable Rhett Revolution organization formed after the teen’s death could never have imagined.

“Aside from raising continued awareness to the Revolution, SpaceX is also fulfilling a dream of Rhett’s,” Jimmy Hering said.

“As a little boy, too young to know any limitations, Rhett had three goals in life: Win the Heisman, be an astronaut, and ride on the back of a garbage truck.”

Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, says the private space exploration company wanted to honor the McGregor freshman who was class president, quarterback of the freshman football team and well-liked throughout the community.

"Rhett Hering meant a lot to the McGregor community, including many of those who work at the SpaceX rocket development facility, and we wanted to do our part to honor Rhett’s memory and his actions – his small acts of kindness and community service,” Shotwell told KWTX.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. It is the first orbital class rocket capable of re-flight.
It will be the company’s 12th flight to the orbiting lab under a contract with NASA for as many as 20 resupply flights.
SpaceX hopes to return the sticker to the family if all goes as planned.
While Hering said this mission is one of many his city helps support, there will never be one that means more to his own family.

“Seeing the Rhett Revolution in space will bring a smile to our hearts,” Hering said.

Rhett Hering died on Dec. 28, 2015, when the ATV he was driving overturned as he pulled out of a private driveway.

In February 2016, family members and friends established the Rhett Hering Revolution Scholarship in his memory with the goal of raising enough money to create a lasting memorial to the teenager.

His classmates, meanwhile, decided to turn their grief into action and planned a day of community service they dubbed the Rhett Revolution.

In May 2016, about 400 students took to the streets of McGregor to spend a day giving back to the community in his honor.

The day of community of service was repeated this May.

A KWTX crew is traveling to the launch alongside the Hering family this weekend and will bring you coverage Saturday through Monday both online and on the air.