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Thursday June 16, 2011

Page history last edited by Monteith 9 years, 8 months ago


Space Academy Day 1

     Today we started off early, really early, too early.  Last night we put one roommate in charge of making sure everyone was up by 6:30 because he had an alarm clock.  At 5:30 there is a knock on the door for everyone to get up, a couple minutes later there was a voice saying, "Never mind, you've got another hour".  Moral of the story, don't let the New York guy be in charge of the Central Time Zone wake up call. :-)  At 7:00 we loaded the bus for the Space and Rocket Center and had a great breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit and juice.  We received our space camp backpack and a whole bunch of other items.  We started off the morning looking at the schedule and it is going to be a busy one!  They also handed out more resources and directed us to where we could access even more.  We broke into our teams, we have 19 people on Team Zarya made of 4 guys (me and my roomates) and 15 ladies, representing United States (including Hawaii), Romania, Australia, and South Africa.  We did some group building activities like a name game and then a group tangle which took us over an hour, but you definitely got to know your teammates up close and personal!

     Next we went through Shuttle Orientation and learned all about the parts of the shuttle and all of the acronyms, flight launch schedule, and a great story about the Coke Mission (now I know why I like Pepsi).  After that it was time for lunch already and we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, fried okra (pretty good), and strawberry shortcake.  I also couldn't help but notice the 1/10 scale Apollo rocket on display, hmmmm future project?

     After lunch we discussed previous shuttle missions and the purposes and importance of them and then went into the different jobs people have during a mission and signed up for positions we would be interested in for our upcoming missions.

     At this point Dr. Don Thomas joined us who was a NASA astronaut flying on four missions to space STS-65,70,83,94.  He was a fantastic speaker and shared what it was like to be in space and had pictures he had taken and some great stories.  He was very down to earth (no pun intended) and really gave a great first hand experience of what it really is like as an astronaut.  He discussed the fact of the shuttle division of NASA closing down, but how they are looking at new avenues of space exploration specifically Mars.  We had a chance to take a team photo with him, I got to try on his space gloves and then specifically asked him what his advice to students who would like to be the first person to walk on Mars would be and he replied, "Hard work and don't ever give up on your dreams!"  He also gave us an autographed picture to take with us.

     Our next session was designing our mission patch.  We looked at actual past mission patches and the significant meaning of them and then we had to work in our team to design our mission patch.  Our group focused on the ideas of being educators, enlightening others with what we gain at space camp, the 4 countries represented, the 15 females and 4 males, and our team name ZARYA.  Then it was off to supper for pizza, salad, and chocolate cake.

     We came back and learned more about Mars and the rovers past, present, future, and the landscape features.  We did an activity where we took landforms recognizable from earth and how they were created and then looked for similar formation on Mars.  We had the opportunity to look at some of the latest photos and the formations which were amazing.  Then we were faced with the challenge of if we were assigned to build a landing device to put a rover on Mars, how would we do it safely?  Our rover was an egg, and we were given 1 piece of tissue paper, 1 piece of cardstock, string, 3 cotton balls, tape, and 3 balloons.  We had 20 minutes to build our landing device before dropping it from the 2nd floor balcony.  After some quick brainstorming we came up with our design on the fly (HAHA).  We completed just in time and headed out to test it.  We released it and good news, "The eagle egg has landed".  We even devised an escape hatch to quickly remove the egg and prove our rover was safe.

     Our final event of the night was to attend our Discovery Mission Training to walk through the procedures for tomorrows mission.  I will be in mission control in charge of overseeing the science experiments being conducted on the International Space Station during tomorrow's mission.

     Tomorrow is another busy day with a visit to a local lab, a chance to meet and listen to the man who originated the idea of space camp, a mathematics activity, a tour of Rocket Park, our actual 2 hour Discovery mission, and tomorrow is Astronaut Simulator day!  I still can't believe I am actually here!!!!


Space Academy Adventure

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