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» Attending Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama

Attending the Space Camp sponsored by NASA at Huntsville, Alabama is every kids dream. It gives them the real life experience of what it is like to be an astronaut. It enriches their life with the most meaningful and interesting experiences. Most of these one-week programs are combined with other community programs, such as 4-H. As expected, there is an age limit at the Space Camp in Alabama with the full camp program being offered only to kids of twelve and above. Many of the activities organized at the camp are likely to be problematic for younger kids and also, the kid needs to be old enough to stay for the week away from home. However, some special programs are offered at the center even for younger kids. The programs and activities at Space Camp are such to awaken creativity and curiosity. There are exercises in designing a lunar colony, and classes and seminars about the history of the space program. These classes include the Soviet space program as well as the United States program. Trips to the museum are also provided for an education experience. But Space Camp would not be fun if sitting in classes and designing lunar colonies is all that went on. There are life size mock-ups of space shuttles to explore. The quarters themselves (complete with bunks) look like they could be on a space station or colony, not somewhere in Alabama. But the best part of Space Camp is the "astronaut training." All those who attend the Space Camp go through a sort of training. They wear space suits to get the feel of it. They are taken in simulators to learn how to fly spacecrafts like the shuttle. They go for a ride in a centrifuge to feel the pressure of gravity. And they experience the feeling of weightlessness in the zero gravity simulations. What's more, they even have a contraption designed to give them the experience of walking on the moon. Once the training is complete all the Space Camp participants are given the opportunity to run a simulated mission. Everyone on board the ship is assigned a specific role such as that of a pilot, or a payload specialist to play in completing the mission successfully. Special attention is paid to sequencing and time because these elements are important in real space missions. If you make a mistake, your simulator shakes you around and you know what it is like to crash and burn. Depending on how much time you have, you may get to run the mission more than once. Thus you may be able to play different roles. This way you not only have fun but also learn more about the space program by doing more. Space Camp provides the opportunity to spark an interest in space and in science. It is a hands-on learning atmosphere that seems worlds away from its location in Huntsville, Alabama.


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