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Published May 28, 2013, 06:12 PM

Otter Tail is celebrating Karen Nyberg's launch into space today

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- The small towns in Otter Tail county that know Karen Nyberg best are celebrating her dramatic launch into space today.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV)-- The small towns in Otter Tail county that know Karen Nyberg best are celebrating her dramatic launch into space today.

In Vining, Minnesota, her parents watched from their home. In nearby Henning, where Karen went to school, the entire town and student body showed up for a "Launch Party."

NASA says it does not ever recall hearing about an entire town throwing a launch party.

But in Henning, Karen Nyberg's story has captured this part of Otter Tail county and today, support has been overwhelming.

Early in the day, Karen Nyberg made the rounds at her hometown school in Henning. Actually, her sister carried her. A NASA cardboard cutout.

Room after room, the elementary students got their pictures taken with Astronaut hero. Days of preparing and making artwork, highlighted with a pre-launch picture.

And Karen's story has inspired even the youngest of dreamers.

"The school moved today's launch party from the old gym to the new, family, classmates, people of the town all showed up to be a part of history. Karen's hometown mayor said what so many quietly thought today."

As launch approached, nervous family tried to stay busy.

Then, in just seconds Karen Nyberg went from a quiet student in the 80's to a celebrated astronaut about to spend 6 months in space.

And Karen's family found this picture. A poster she had up in her room as a child. It reads. "Learn all you can, and who knows how far you will go."

And even those who could not make it to the launch party, were able to take part in the event.

At the Golden Living Center in Henning, residents of the nursing home, including Karen's aunt and godmother watched the rocket launch.

And many plan to follow Karen and her 6month stay by reading updates on the NASA website and emails.

And plans are to have Karen Nyberg give the summer commencement addreess at UND in August speaking to the graduates from space.

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