With all the great educationally enriching opportunities available, Space Camp may be one of the most interesting. Established in 1982, this program couples classroom instruction with hands-on activities and teaches teamwork, decision-making, and leadership. Additionally, it is one of those rare programs available to a wide range of student ages (4th grade through high school age), and the week long program is provided year round instead of just during the summer breaks of most students. SPACE CAMP has become known as one of the premier math/science/technology educational programs in the United States.
A study conducted that surveyed thousands of past participants over the years reflected that 93 percent of the alumni took more science courses as a result of their experience, particularly physics and chemistry, in the years following camp; 91 percent reported taking more math; and 74 percent said they learned about future careers they eventually entered. Programs include:
Space Camp: For grades 4th through 6th, Space Camp is a five-night program, where students participate in two 1-hour simulated shuttle missions. Students in mission control monitor the progress and safety of the mission, those in the shuttle will successfully launch and land the spacecraft, and those in the space station will conduct science experiments while learning basic scientific principles. Crew trainers guide trainees through the past, present and future of space exploration using actual rockets and shuttles as the backdrop. Trainees will see the first rocket that put an American in space – the massive Saturn V moon rocket – and the capsules early astronauts used during their missions. Trainees will climb the tallest mountain on Mars on the Mars Climbing Wall and experience 4Gs of liftoff force on the Space Shot simulator, and get an astronaut’s view of the earth while watching amazing films in a IMAX Spacedome Theater.
Space Academy: For ages 12 – 14, Space Academy is an exciting five-night adventure program that incorporates real world applications of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Trainees prepare to become the new generation of lunar explorers, with hands-on activities that place them in the role of spacecraft designers and astronauts. From experiencing walking on the moon in the academy’s 1/6th gravity chair to working in a frictionless environment in the Manned Maneuvering Unit, students also get to build and launch a two-stage model rocket. Students are equipped with modern space flight knowledge and prepared to be future space leaders.
Advanced Space Camp: For 10th through 12th grade students, Advanced Space Camp is an adventure where high-school trainees forge futures, find friends and explore careers. Trainees are immersed in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education while focusing on college and career preparation. During the five-night program, trainees will get hands-on training, as well as learn about the mental, emotional and physical demands astronauts, engineers and technologists must face. Trainees will experience microgravity in the center’s Underwater Astronaut Trainer*, a tumble and spin in the Multi-Axis Trainer, and they’ll learn what it’s like to walk on the moon in the 1/6th gravity chair.
Advanced Space Academy is a college-accredited program through the University of Alabama-Huntsville. Students will earn one hour of freshman-level general science credit. After completion of the five-night program; students are eligible to participate in a highly selective 12-night camp.
Scholarships are available and must be received by the end of the year. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of high academic achievement, financial need, and other criteria. The application process is intense and students should begin early. For more information, visit the center’s website at spacecamp.com and begin your “blast off” to an exciting future in science!