Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spacecamp Where Geeks Dreams Come True

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A few years ago, I was in Huntsville doing a laser training session for a doctor and I had landed in Huntsville late at night.  I grabbed a rental car and proceeded to check in at the Marriott which was very close to the airport.  I should've known something was up when the address of the Marriott was "One Tranquility Base".  Once in my room, I hit the bed and was out like a light.  The next morning when I awoke, I was stunned as I opened the curtains to see a Saturn V rocket staring me in the face.  It turns out the the Marriott borders the U.S Space & Rocket Center, home of Space Camp.
 
After seeing it, I had vowed that one day I would return and actually participate in a Space Camp session.
 
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As you can see from the pic above, I got to do just that.  The photo shows me & my partner aboard the shuttle simulator, about to depart (in full space suits)  for an EVA (extra vehicular activity) or space walk.  We were hooked to devcies that simulated zero gravity and were working on the outside of the shuttle.  Needless to say, it rocked!
 
I got a chance to try 1/6 gravity like on the moon, got to fly the jetpack simulator, and got 2 do 2 shuttle flight simulations… among tons of other activities.
 
Space Camp is a well run and well organized chance for ordinary folks to learn what it takes to train like an astronaut and to experience some of the most amazing things about space exploration.  For a diehard geek like me, it was a dream come true!
 
The accommodations are spartan, but definitely comfy & livable, especially since you won't really spend much time in your room inside the "habitat".  They kept us going from about 6:30 in the morning until about 9:00 at night.  The program consists of a combination of lectures on the history of the space program as well as physical efforts on training devcies, and shuttle missions.  All in all it was an amazing time!
 
If you've ever wanted to find out more about what NASA does, Space Camp is a must see/do.  It's definitely something I'm glad I got a chance to do & would gladly do it again!
 
 
 

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