Nathaniel Harmon, age 11 of Winfield, recently attended Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Rocket Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center.
The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.
This program is specifically designed for trainees who have a passion for space exploration. Nathaniel spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon or Mars. The crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk. Nathaniel and crew returned to earth in time to graduate with honors.
Space Camp uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.
Almost one million trainees have graduated from a Space Camp program since its inception in 1982, including European Space Agency astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronauts Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Dr. Kate Rubins, Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Christina Koch, who set the record for the longest duration space flight by a female. Children and teachers from all 50 states and almost 150 international locations have attended a Space Camp program.