Space Camp is a five day long programme in the Space Centre in Huntsville, Alabama. The trip involves building rockets, robots and rovers with your friends in a friendly competition in order to to try to beat other teams and schools. With life-like missions, presentations from experts and activities that you couldn’t do anywhere else, Space Camp really is a once in a lifetime experience that helps build the bridge between childhood dreams and reality.
The day always started early and we went straight into activities. Walking around in our groups with an appointed leader, we visited the many exhibitions located at Space Camp, detailing the early space exploration details and much more. We participated in many activities such as high ropes and climbing, rocket building and different rides simulating parts of space flight. One of the biggest projects that we had to take part in was the simulation missions. We had three over the course of the five days practicing orbits, a moon landing and a mission to Mars. We did everything in our small groups and were able to get to know one another better over the course of this learning experience. During the evenings, we usually attended lectures which covered a range of different subjects. We were often joined by groups from other schools which enabled us to make lots of new friends. Coming back to the dorms late at night, we were usually exhausted and had a good night’s sleep before heading off to another fulfilling day.
Some of the favourite parts of the trip were the missions that we did over the course of the week. There were 2 one hour missions and one 3 hour long mission. In the missions, we played the different roles and aspects that would occur in a real life mission. For example, you could be in Mission Control or in the ISS (International Space Station). Medical anomalies also occurred in the missions which required us to diagnose the problem and give the right medicine to combat these.
Other activities, such as the flight simulator and the gyroscope, were new and exciting experiences. Whilst learning how the activities are linked with space and the variety of jobs and roles that are involved, it was interesting for us to experience some of these ourselves. Our camp leaders taught us how to build rockets and robots. These were often turned into competitions that involved trying to gain the greatest number of points for completing certain tasks. We were often competing against other schools, particularly in the robot challenge.
All of the activities at Space Camp were a lot of fun, but these were some of the highlights that made the experience very special.
In addition to the actual Space Camp, we had some other other very memorable moments which included watching an ice hockey game, which was surprisingly addictive to watch. All of us enjoyed the build up to the game and the aftermath of the Huntsville Havocs winning the game. We visited Cathedral Caverns and Burritt on the Mountain which are historical local landmarks. We went to two different malls, one of which was The Bridge Street Mall. It is a modern outdoor mall which often hosts musicians performing near the central spaces. In the time we had after Space Camp we enjoyed eating at Five Guys and the 88 all you can eat buffet.
Space Camp gave us an opportunity to develop an understanding on space travel and occupations surrounding it. Not only did Space Camp allow us to experience what it is like to be part of a space crew, it also taught us the importance of teamwork and leadership. Through activities such as the three hour mission, we learnt to overcome various anomalies as a team whilst sticking to a tight schedule. If you want to spend your holiday feeling like you have accomplished something whilst still enjoying yourself than Space Camp would be great for you!
By Sadie Brown, Katie Day, Eilidh Duncan, Will Layton-Watts, Alison Ormond and Seb Peperell