"Where are we going?" Ben couldn't help but ask.
They were in the cockpit of the space shuttle. He was on his way to study at the space station. But where were they going? The astronaut was sitting on the pilot's seat and was busy with the controls of the space shuttle. Ben was seated behind him.
"We are going to the space station," he answered after a short time and continued working with the controls.
For a moment, Ben looked ahead. The rocket was gaining speed. The blue sky turned into darker shades of blue. The clouds became a blur. After a few minutes, Ben could no longer see the clouds. But the landscape changed; it was as if he was looking down upon a village. After another few minutes had passed, it was like he was looking down upon a city. Soon, the rocket had reached the speed of escape. It was then that they could turn around and see who they were.
"Hey, that's us!" said Ben. The two were looking at a blue planet behind them.
"We'll soon reach the space station," the astronaut said. "It's just behind the Earth."
"Where will I stay?" Ben asked.
"You will live in the space station for a while," he answered. "I will stay with you until you get used to the place."
"Will you come with me?" Ben asked.
"Yes, I'll be there to help you."
"Good," Ben said. "I'm looking forward to meeting the other astronauts now."
The astronaut showed Ben around the space station. It was huge! So many astronauts and other people, one of which he knew. She would be his roommate. The astronaut showed Ben the living quarters. There was a large window. Outside, Ben saw the Earth from time to time.
"So far away. Yet so nearby," Ben thought when he looked out of the window.
"Almost bedtime," said the astronaut in the morning.
"There are lots of important things to do tomorrow." Ben yawned and agreed. After an early breakfast, they set off.
They were going to the control center of the space station. It was a large room. An astronaut was checking some panels that Ben could not see from where he was. He saw all sorts of instruments. A large panel of instruments was at the front of the control center. On the right was the exit door. Up high was a large view window.
"This is your station," said the astronaut to Ben. "The controls are easy to use. All you have to do is follow the instructions."
Ben was speechless. He felt excited but also nervous. There were so many controls in front of him. He had to learn them all.
"I'll give you a few minutes to look around," said the astronaut. "Then you can begin."
Ben listened to the instructions and then tried to operate the controls. It took a while before he could really set off. Soon, he could actually start the rocket engines and steer them in any direction he wanted. The rocket was now in control. Ben looked at the Earth and took in the magnificent view.
The sight was unbelievable!
It was the last day of Ben's training. Tomorrow, he would go back to Earth.
"My final lesson today," said the astronaut. "You have learned how to steer the rocket."
"And how to start the cameras," said Ben. He could now easily control any system and take pictures when he wanted.
"Now you have to learn something else," said the astronaut. "You will have to run experiments. We need to find out what happens when you put a chemical in certain places on the rocket."
"And what will you do with the results?"
"We'll send them back to Earth."
Ben followed the instructions to the letter. Then they began the experiments. The results of the experiments would determine the next course of action. And it was Ben who decided it all.