Return to Space Camp by Aideen Byrne
Five four three two one, WE HAVE LIFT Off!!
On the 21st of September 2012 five teenagers from all
over Ireland travelled over to the U.S to attend the 23rd International Space
Camp for Visually Impaired kids and teenagers. I was joined by James, Louis,
Patrick and Amy. On our way over due to an unexpected technical problem with
our plane in Atlanta we got to stay in a 5 star hotel over night for FREE!!! It
was AMAZING!! Yummy food and a comfy bed. The next day we got a plane to
Huntsville Alabama where we started our space adventures.
There were over 200 teenagers from across 22 US
states, Australia, Ireland, St.Lucia, Israel and Trinidad and Tobago. My team
was called Von Tiesenhausen or Von T for short.
Georg F. Von Tiesenhausen was a German-American rocket scientist, who
was brought to the U.S in 1953 as part of Operation Paperdip. He was part of
Wernher Von Braun‘s team at the U.S army and later NASA. He is credited with
the first complete design of the Lunar Rover and made a variety of other
contributions to the space program.
During the week long camp we had four missions in
total to complete called alpha, brava, charley and one six hour mission called
EDM (Extended Duration Mission). I was asked by my team to perform the role of
INCO (Integrated Communications Officer) and Medical Doctor as they felt I had
the skills for this role. I was delighted as all the boys were sent to space in
the Enterprise Orbiter to complete a repair mission at the ISS (International
Space Station) and all the girls remained in Mission Control with all the
We had the best of fun as a team completing all the
tasks and keeping everyone alive in space. In fact my team won the overall team
award presented at the end of camp. This award is given to the team that works
best together to achieve their goals, whilst supporting one another in times of
crisis and difficulty.
We got involved in many team building activities which
were quite challenging to say the least especially if you have a fear of
heights! They involved climbing a 50ft ladder and zip lining off a tower while
your teammates were working together to keep you safe on the wires.
Another team activity involved climbing up a telephone pole, balancing and then jumping
We learnt all about rocket design and we actually made our own rocket and
successfully launched it.
An Alabama TV news channel paid a visit to see what we were doing in Space Camp.
They were delighted to see teenagers from other countries participating and
having fun. They asked me all about myself. I spoke about why NASA Space Camp
is so successful helping people to learn about effective teamwork,
communication and leadership skills.
My time in Space Camp was hugely educational learning the history and science of
space travel. However, the memories that I will be taking home most of all, are
of the people I met and the friendships and bonds that were made between
teenagers from all over the world.