Space Camp!!!

This summer I signed up for Space Camp for Educators at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It was amazing!

We used equipment that showed us some of what astronauts go through: a 1/6th gravity chair to simulate lunar gravity, a Multiple Axis Trainer that the original Mercury 7 Astronauts used to simulate a spinning rocket, we had to exit a simulated helicopter crash into water, and we zip-lined into a pond simulating parachuting into the ocean. If I go again in the future, then I'll get use the Underwater Astronaut Trainer to experience neutral buoyancy.

Next up we got to do two hour-long mission simulations. For the first one I was a Flight Engineer on the International Space Station. We had to preform experiments all while communicating with mission control and the arriving space shuttle and its astronauts. For the second one I was in mission control as the GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Controls System Engineer) as we helped our fellow astronauts on a mission to Mars. There other missions taking place around us on the life-sized models of retired and future shuttles and bases. A lot of the time my 10-person team of fellow teachers were just being silly (posing in the cuploa or pretending to sleep on the ISS - see how our arms are floating?!). 

One of the most fun things we did was build and launch our own rockets. I added a monkeynaut to mine :-)

We were exposed to so much science this week: a fuel burn demonstration, a Mars landing challenge with parachute and rover, growing crystals and creating slime, making a deployable solar sail, using Spheros to simulate Martian rovers, and making our own heat shields to protect "egg-stronauts".