The next day (Monday) was packed full of activities. Our first task of the day was to build our rockets. This was fun (there's that word again), and after carefully following the directions we were prepared to blast off our creations the next morning. After building our rockets, we changed and headed to Aviation Challenge. Here we had the opportunity to zip line to safety and properly exit a "crashed" helicopter (a helio dunker).
|Building rockets with Darleen Sutton, South Carolina TOY|
|Ready for liftoff!|
|Loading the helio dunker|
|Exiting to safety!|
After lunch, we toured the Rocket Park at Space Camp before training for our lunar simulation mission. There are several models of rockets that have been used at different stages of NASA's history - and of course Pathfinder, the model space shuttle on display at the center of Space Camp. It's the only place in the world where you can see an orbiter, solid rocket boosters, and fuel tank displayed together.
|The memorial to Miss Baker, the first U.S. animal|
to survive space travel.
|Juno, the rocket that launched with Miss Baker and Abel|
|A vehicle designed for the terrain on the moon|
|Saturn IV model|
|Team Destiny with the Lunar Module|
We then prepared for our lunar mission. This one is a little "futuristic" since it is based more on what NASA will be doing (hypothetically) in the future. My role in this mission was going to have me not only preparing the orbiter for liftoff but weaving in and out of very small openings to work on the the lunar station. All in a big, puffy space suit.
|The Orion orbiter|
|Altair, attached to the station (I had to crawl through the small|
tube connecting the two)
|Rising Star module where we would "dock" and get|
suited for our mission in space
|Hydroponics lab inside Rising Star|
|Mission Control of the future!|
After being assigned our new status for our lunar mission, we went to the Educator Resource Center (ERC) for a teamwork activity on ablative shielding. Each small group had to "purchase" materials (ranging from pasta to aluminum foil) to create a shield sturdy enough to withstand enough heat to prevent our egg-stronaut from being breakfast for dinner.
|He's gonna fry!!!|
On Tuesday, we started at the Homer Hickam Launch Pad to send our rockets into the unknown. More on Homer in an upcoming post, but he is a native of McDowell County, West Virginia that wrote "Rocket Boys" and was a NASA engineer. Most of us successfully launched our rockets and retrieved them (mine is either decorating a tall tree in Huntsville or didn't sustain the impact upon landing). Our next outdoor activity of the morning was Area 51, where we worked in small groups to complete strategy and team building exercises.
|Team Destiny with their rockets|
|Last time I saw my rocket in one piece...|
|Team activity where we had to use three board to walk across|
|How hard is it to bring a hula hoop down to the ground? Try it sometime!|
|Think this bear can get us off the ground?|
|Ready for countdown!|
|Control panel in Altair|
|Big white suit :-)|
|Walking carefully up a very narrow|
ladder wearing a lot of heavy gear!
|Fixing a broken window on the lunar space|
station with the Texas TOY
|Connecting wires inside the station|
|Looking for our checklist. The lighting just made it more intense :-)|
Once our lunar mission was complete, it was time to head back to the ERC to save some more eggs! Our small groups had to build a Mars rover that would allow the egg-stronaut to land safely after being dropped from afar and then roll to its destination. Our group created the safest, most cost efficient rover :-)
|Our team and rover (with Virginia TOY Melissa Porfirio, Massachusetts |
TOY Anne Marie Ocheyack and Northern Mariana Islands TOY Paul Miura
|The winning proposal|
That evening we had our gift exchange. Each teacher was asked to bring small mementos (such as a lapel pin) that represented their state for each of the participants. This was a very meaningful way to bring back a little something from each teacher.
|It was a little like Space Camp "Trick or Treat" :-)|
...And those are days 3 and 4 of Space Camp in a nut...I mean egg shell. The middle days were most busy and action packed of the week. However, as with almost everything, the best was yet to be!