What’s new at Space Camp? Moon, Mars missions and more!
Just as NASA and commercial companies are preparing for the future of space exploration, so is Space Camp. This past year saw many changes to the Space Camp program, from forward-thinking missions to a new look in the Mission Center Complex where students from around the world come to train like astronauts.
Space Camp also watched through 2015 and 2016 as its second and third alumnae launched into space. Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency astronaut and Italian Air Force captain and engineer, completed a long-duration mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Her 199-day and 16-hour mission set a record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. Dr. Kate Rubins, our third alumna in space, is a microbiologist with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of California and a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Stanford University Medical School Biochemistry Department and Microbiology and Immunology Department. She is currently aboard the ISS serving as Flight Engineer for Expedition 48/49.
Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, who was a mission specialist on a Space Shuttle Discovery flight in 2001, was the first Space Camp alumna in space. Cristoforetti, Metcalf-Lindenburger and Rubins are three of five Space Camp alumni who have gone on to become astronauts.
The Space Camp mission training floor has come a long way from when those three astronauts came to Camp. Instead of a shuttle-based program, Space Camp now features science- and repair missions to the ISS and the lunar surface.
A new mission to Mars was beta tested in the summer of 2015, and the Space Camp team continues to develop and refine that mission. Also on the horizon is a manned mission to an asteroid modeled after the concepts proposed by NASA. The agency hopes to “capture” and transport an asteroid. The technology being developed for this mission will be essential to sending human beings to Mars and safely back to Earth.
Two new Space Camp simulators will help trainees learn about ISS crew exchange and resupply, joining the Orion capsule that will be used for the new moon, Mars and asteroid missions. Space Camp is working closely with Boeing and SpaceX to ensure a high degree of authenticity in reproducing the capsules. These simulators with their touch screens and digital displays will show trainees how much has changed in the physical components of space travel.
The training floor also looks different than in times past. The large Space Shuttle Endeavor simulator that long anchored the area is now housed in another location on the U.S. Space & Rocket Center campus, clearing the way for the new simulators and the new ISS: Science on Orbit exhibit. This NASA grant-funded exhibit gives trainees and Rocket Center guests a true sense of what it’s like to live and work in space. Science on Orbit also includes a model of NASA’s Payload Operations Integration Center, where scientists and engineers on Earth manage the complex, international science experiments astronauts conduct on the International Space Station.
With all these additions and updates, the summer of 2016 marked a new era in Space Camp that will mirror the next generation of space exploration being developed by NASA and the private sector.
Ambassador Spotlight- Jackie Slaviero, Australia
On Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, our “One Giant Leap” Australia team traveled to Port Macquarie, five hours from Sydney. The purpose of the trip was to talk with the Primary School (“elementary school” in the United States) about traveling to Space Camp. We were warmly welcomed and it appears that they are going to seriously consider putting this on the schedule for 2017. Word had spread that we were in town and with no prior notice, we were asked to talk with teachers at the local high school about developing and providing STEM training as well as Space Camp. This meeting lasted for about two hours and was very well-received.
In December, we received a request to assist Ed Buckbee (founder of Space Camp) with his plans to visit Australia and New Zealand for the first time. He was working in this part of the world during that time, and we were asked to assist with arranging talks about his passion, ‘The Real Space Cowboys’ – the astronauts and their challenges from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
We met up with Ed on the morning of a talk we had arranged at the World Famous Sydney Observatory. This was well-received by all present. The next day, we met up with Mr. Buckbee to discuss our plans for establishing Space Camp in Australia and also had him interviewed for an online forum.
Mr. Buckbee left for Melbourne on a cruise ship, and we arranged for him to be met on arrival in Melbourne. The team that met him showed him the sights of Melbourne, arranged for him to give the same talk as he presented in Sydney, and put him back on the boat for the cruise to New Zealand.
Upon arrival in New Zealand, we were fortunate to have colleagues from one of our previous ventures meet up with Mr. Buckbee and his wife, and he was shown the sights, presented a talk and was provided the opportunity to see this part of the world with local guides.
Australian Scout Jamboree
We had a great opportunity this January to have a stand at the Australian Scout Jamboree. This is the same as your Boy Scouts in the USA, with one exception; we have both boys and girls in our scouting movement. This Jamboree is only held once every three years and circulates through three different locations in Australia. We had a location together with the Internet Cafe where we were able to show slides of Space Camp and the programs to an audience of more than 8,000 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for the ten days of the Jamboree.
To provide support for the Jamboree, we were able to have two special guests interviewed on Scout Radio. These were Space Camp Hall of Fame alumni, Ed van Cise and William Hare. William is an Eagle Scout and he talked about how scouting and Space Camp are the proudest achievements in his life!
By: Jackie Slaviero, Space Camp Ambassador, Australia
International Space Camp 2016 was a HUGE success!I
On July 8-15, Space Camp hosted our annual International Space Camp week, and this year we had more than 15 countries attend. The U.S. Teachers of the Year from U.S. territories and all 50 states also attended.
International educators participated in a comprehensive program to promote interest in space science and exploration as well as global cooperation. International students in Advanced Space Academy® earned college credit and were challenged both academically and physically through extended-duration missions and experienced microgravity in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer.
For more information on International Space Camp 2017, please contact Sara Vowell at email@example.com
Welcome our two new Space Camp Ambassadors – Krit Kunplin, Thailand, and Jose Santana, Dominican Republic!
Krit Kunplin played a leading role in bringing the NASA Space Exhibition to Thailand, which was the first country in South East Asia to host this NASA exhibition. During the President George W. Bush administration, Kunplin served as an international reporter and broadcaster for Voice of America (VOA) in Washington D.C. He is currently a special lecturer on the Faculty of Architecture of Chulalongkorn University and is a specialist on business partnership for Thailand’s biggest retailer. He is also the founder of Thailand’s first space-training education program.
Mr. Jose Santana is Ambassador/Executive Director of the International Science & Technology Commission of the Dominican Republic Presidency. We are honored he has chosen to serve as an Ambassador to Space Camp from the Dominican Republic, as he currently leads the only international government organization charged with advancing all fields of scientific and technological innovation. He is also a Research Affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT – in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.
Thanks to all of our Ambassadors who work so hard to promote Space Camp around the world! If you have any questions, please contact our new Ambassador coordinator Sara Vowell at firstname.lastname@example.org
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