My name is Tyler Gardner. You may remember reading about me on this very blog last August. At that time, I had just been awarded a scholarship to Space Camp. Even more recently, you may have read about the benches that I made for the Space Center as my Eagle Scout Project. Well, one week ago, I arrived home from the week long Advanced Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.. This academy is one of the multiple programs that the U.S. Space Camp runs weekly and is considered to be one of their ‘top tier’ camps.
I plan to post in three or four parts so that I can share most of my experience while keeping my posts fairly short.
To start off, let me talk some about the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for those of you less familiar with it. “Home to Space Camp, and Aviation Challenge; The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is recognized as one of the most comprehensive U.S. manned space flight hardware museums in the world. Facilities [there] include Spacedome Theater, Rocket Park, the Education Training Center, which houses NASA's Educator Resource Center, and more” (USSRC website). For anyone who loves technology, NASA, or space, the USSRC is an amazing place to visit even if you just walk around the museum and rocket park.
The Pathfinder Space Shuttle is located in the center of the Space Camp campus.
A model of the massive Saturn V rocket that stands outside.
An actual Saturn V which lays on its side inside the museum.
Much of the magic of Space Camp, however, comes not only from the space travel history around you, but from those things which you get to experience in the simulators.
Pictures of the Enterprise Orbiter simulator.
Enterprise Mission Control.
Other aspects of the camp.....
Space Shot, the USSRC’s ‘launch and free fall simulator’.
You also get the opportunity to familiarize yourself with Mercury and Apollo program astronaut training (or maybe it’s just to have fun!).
1/6th gravity chair.
Multi Axis Trainer.
Those who chose to take the Mission Specialist track have the opportunity to scuba dive in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer.
Underwater Astronaut Trainer (Scuba tank).
Pilot Track campers fly fighter jet simulators and experience elevated g-forces in the centrifuge.
Fighter Jet Simulators.
That is a good overview of many of the things I experienced at Space Camp. Next post, I’ll cover Area 51, Space Camp’s ropes course and teamwork/leadership development area.