SAT Writing and Language Practice Test: From Here to the Stars

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Question 11 questions

Time 9 minutes

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From Here to the Stars

Gene Kranz hadn't slept in ages. 1 The flight director, pacing between rows of monitors in NASA's Mission Control Center, an impossible problem weighing heavy in his weary mind: Three astronauts were operating a crippled spacecraft nearly 200,000 miles from Earth. And time was running out.

Kranz was no stranger to 2 issues. After losing his father at an early age, Kranz turned to the stars for guidance—and found inspiration. His high school thesis was about the possibility of 3 space travel; an idea that prompted Kranz to set a path for the stars. Kranz pursued a degree in aeronautical engineering after high school graduation. Until the Wright brothers had pioneered powered, controlled flight only half a century earlier, aviation milestones like breaking the sound barrier and World War II changed the future of flight. Aeronautical engineering required a thorough understanding of 4 physics—like lift and drag on wings—as well as proficiency in mathematics to determine maximum weight on an aircraft. After graduating from Saint Louis University's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology, Kranz piloted jets for the Air Force Reserve before performing research and development on missiles and rockets. Kranz later joined NASA and directed the successful Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969.

5 One year later, the mood had drastically altered in the Mission Control Center. There were no cheers, no celebratory pats on the back or teary-eyed congratulations. Coffee and adrenaline fueled the scientists and engineers communicating with the astronauts on Apollo 13. 6 Kranz was easy to spot among the avalanche of moving bodies and shifting papers. He was dressed, as ever, in his signature handmade vest.7

Kranz's wife, Marta, had begun making vests at his request in the early '60s. 8 Their was power in a uniform, something Kranz understood from his years serving overseas. The vests served not as an authoritative mark or 9 sartorial flair, but a defining symbol for his team to rally behind. During the effort to save the Apollo 13 crew, Kranz wore his white vest around the clock like perspiration-mottled battle armor.

10 Among meetings and calculations, Kranz and the NASA staff hatched a wild plan. By using the gravitational force of the moon, 11 it could slingshot the injured spacecraft back on an earthbound course. It was a long shot, of course, but also their best and only one. And, due to the tireless efforts of support staff on earth and the intrepid spirit of the Apollo 13 crew, it worked. Six days after takeoff, all three astronauts splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.


  • B. The flight director paced
  • C. The pacing flight director
  • D. The flight director pacing


  • B. adversity
  • C. deadlines
  • D. maladies


  • B. space travel: an idea
  • C. space travel, an idea
  • D. space travel. An idea


  • B. physics; like lift and drag on wings, as well as proficiency
  • C. physics like lift and drag on wings, as well as proficiency
  • D. physics: like lift and drag on wings—as well as proficiency

5. Which sentence most effectively establishes the main idea of the paragraph?

  • A. Without his unusual vest, no one would have noticed Kranz in the crowd.
  • B. Kranz stood out as a pillar of strength in the chaos of the command center.
  • C. During the Apollo 11 mission, Kranz earned the badges of honor that now adorned his vest.
  • D. Kranz possessed more years of experience than anyone in the control center.


  • B. Among the avalanche of moving bodies and shifting papers, it is easy to spot Kranz.
  • C. Kranz easily spotted the avalanche of moving bodies and shifting papers.
  • D. Kranz is easy to spot among the avalanche of moving bodies and shifting papers.

7. Which sentence provides effective evidence to support the main focus of the paragraph?

  • A. The engineers looked to the calm man in the homemade vest.
  • B. Many of the men in the Mission Control Center had lengthy military careers.
  • C. Kranz's thoughts returned to the many tribulations he had experienced.
  • D. Several engineers joined together as a bastion of calm in a sea of uncertainty.


  • B. They're was
  • C. There was
  • D. They were


  • B. sanguine
  • C. military
  • D. martial


  • B. In spite of
  • C. Amid
  • D. Between


  • B. he
  • C. they
  • D. one