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Florida Guide > Other Activities

Mum, I want to be an astronaut when I grow up....

SUMMER ‘07

Last summer we went to Kennedy space centre for kid’s space camp. We were put into groups depending on our age there was; Gemini Apollo discovery and robotics. My sister and I were put into the discovery team. The discovery team was for the older age group and the robotics team was for people returning for the 2nd year. It was mainly located at the astronaut hall of fame. We were introduced into our groups with our instructor (we had Amy). We also had a foreign exchange group from china join our group for the week. Then we went onto the computers and built space stations the space station had to be balanced out like if you had 2 docking stations for the shuttles then you would need enough life support for 12 people ect. We then went and made rockets out of only paper and sellotape we then took them outside and had tanks of pressured air and had to place the rockets on the tanks and set them off. My rocket went the furthest so I won the competition and my rocket even beat the manufactured foam rocket and then after lunch we then split into little teams to build a functional electrical robots not one of the robots look a little bit a like and we were going to battle them on the last day. And we then built a bridge across benches and put weights on them.

Tuesday

We started off the day by taking a trip in the coaches to tour the launch pads and discovery was on one of the launch pads ready to take flight and there was also a delta rocket ready to take off and we heard that take off at 5 am from our hotel on coco beach . we passed the assembly building (did you know: that it took 500 gallons of paint just to paint the American flag on the side of the building and they had to modify the building when they changed from rockets to the shuttle because the rockets were tall and skinny and the shuttle was short and fat so they had to change the doors to allow the shuttle in). we then visited the Saturn V centre to look at the build up of the Apollo rocket and we had a talk about make up of the space shuttle and the flight plan (after the take off the rocket boosters fall off at 2 minutes into flight these have locators on so that they can be retrieved by boats as they fall into the ocean then once they have gotten out of the earths atmosphere which is aprox. 5 minutes in they detach the external tank away from the shuttle and the shuttle then runs on it’s main engines. We then took a journey over to the main visitor’s complex where we had a little tour on how robots have developed through the years and how they have helped us develop a picture of our solar system. We then went on the brand new ‘shuttle launch experience’ it was a BLAST. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and nagged them to let us go on it again as we enjoyed it so much. It is exactly what it says in the name. You board the space shuttle then get rotated into a vertical position and launched right into space. Where you then open the payload doors and see the earth from space.

Wednesday

We went into the main tourist area of the astronaut hall of fame and looked at the time line and al the famous astronauts through the years. We then went on the simulators in the astronaut hall of fame. There was a landing simulator, a mars robot simulator, a cockpit simulator, and a g-force simulator. We then had a discussion on the design concept and how everything must be modelled and tested before we send it up into space. So we designed a tower station that would have to be able to be resistant to lunar quakes. And we were given time to make the tower out of only paper and selotape and then we had a competition of who’s tower was the tallest and with stand the most force of a lunar quake. We also had a discussion on the NEW space rockets Ares I and Ares V. The Ares I is based on the Apollo rocket and take the passengers up first. They have decided to go back to the rocket style to avoid the problem that caused Columbia to crash. Then 20 days later Ares V(did you know that it is not called Ares 2 because it was based on the Saturn V rocket) is sent up with all the cargo e. g. the lunar lander as N. A. S. A wants to go back to the moon and the Ares I and Ares V will then connect together and all 4 of the crew will be able to get in the lunar Lander and go to the moon as the Ares will be able to just orbit the moon on it’s own with out having to be controlled unlike the Apollo missions. They will be having an unmanned test flight of Ares I in 2009 and a manned test flight about 2011 they also want to land on the moon by 2018. After we then had to make a lunar Lander of our own out 3 balloons a plastic cup string paper and cotton wool and it had to hold an egg and we then dropped them off the side of the building and we weren’t allowed to let the egg crack. (Unfortunately our team’s egg did crack? )

Thursday

We went to the visitor’s complex again to personally meet Story Musgrave and have pictures with him and ask lots of questions about his experiences in space we then got to take a look in a model of the space shuttle. And we just had to have another go on the shuttle launch experience. We then watched the 3d movies of “walking in the moon” starring tom hanks and “space station” starring tom cruise.

Friday (graduation day)

We started off the day by battling our robots and my team’s robot was undefeated. We then got to take charge of our own mission I was the flight director (failure is not an option) and there were 4 of us in the control room and 2 people on the shuttle. We had to do everything that a normal crew would have to do and push all the buttons on time and if it was not done properly we could have crashed the shuttle but we landed safely? . We also went on the multi-axle training simulator it had three axels so you never Passover the same spot twice so you never feel motion sickness. Then we went on the zero gravity wall they weigh you and balance out your weight with weights and you climb this ladder up and down and you have to use all the strength in your arms and legs to pull yourself up and down (which is really hard but fun) we then went on the spring chair which simulates moon walking and then we went on the trajectory chair where there are 2 of you facing each other and spinning round and you must throw the ball to each other but it shows how you must throw it to where they are GOING to be this is trying to simulate when sending a shuttle to the space station as if you send it to where the station is at that time by the time you get up there it would have moved so you send the shuttle up before the station gets to the angle of trajectory. After all this excitement we were then presented with a certificate to say we had completed the week of space camp and an annual pass to Kennedy space centre. Overall it was a well worth experience and my sister and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole week and we made life long friends.

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Page added on: 11 July 2008
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