Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp)! Part 1

Before Caitlin left for Space Camp, she decided to keep a very, VERY, detailed journal about everything she did and saw there which is very lucky for the rest of us who didn’t get to go and can live vicariously through her. For this series (An Absurd Adventurer in Space (Camp)!) you will read all of her own words. She has also included everything she ate because we are both obsessed with having good meals and telling each other about them.

Day 1 (August 28, 2011)

First day of Advanced Space Academy at the United StatesSpace and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama! It was a really pretty ride down, the mountains and the trees were nice, and the red dirt was too, but other than that there wasn’t much else unless I was interested in buying fireworks…

I got here around 12:30 today and…got some lunch in the cafeteria, a ham and cheese flatbread melt (the ham tasted like bacon so it was good), and then walked around a bit before orientation and this is one impressive place. It is so much bigger than I expected and I am amazed by the amount of stuff they have here. We got to see the Underwater Astronaut Trainer, which I was afraid of but it wasn’t quite as mechanic as I imagined, so it wasn’t too terrifying. We also got a sneak peek of the Multi-Axis Trainer, the 5 Degrees of Freedom Chair, the 1/6 Gravity Chair, and the Manned Maneuvering Unit. I honestly expected this week to be centered on those things alone but I can already tell that that is not the case.

Then I had an orientation where they showed us all the buildings and the way around. We also got to see where we will be doing our Flight Missions which will take place on a huge shuttle (it’s actually called an orbiter, which I learned today) with a fully functional Mission Control Room with computers, manuals, and headsets. After our tour, we gathered in the cafeteria where we began to design our mission patch. That, I think, will be worn on our flight suits. This was a little difficult because everyone had conflicting ideas and talked over each other but we’ll keep working on the patch later in the week. After that we ate dinner – pizza, carrots, Dr. Pepper, and chocolate cake (these details are for you, Kathryn.) I forgot to mention that we also went to the part of the museum that houses a partially functioning Saturn V rocket (the V represents the number of engines.) It was huge! Apparently it was built from a junkyard used specifically to story old parts of rockets.

At the end of the day we went to two meetings where they briefly discussed how space flight works, the different parts of a rocket, shuttle, and engine and they also went over our missions and the different roles and positions that are required to keep everything running smoothly. There will be more meetings/presentations that will go into greater detail on those subjects later in the week.

Then we went to the IMAX Theater and watched October Sky which was very good. It’s about a boy who no one believes in who wants to be in the space program and is eventually successful. There was also cheese and grapes to go along with the movie, which I loved, obviously! It’s pretty warm in the room I’m in but, other than that, everything is great!

P.S. There are tons of bats flying around outside!