Not only did I get to go on a space shuttle simulation (remember, a simulation shows you what experiencing the real thing would be like), but I also got to blast into the future! I was a "bear in space" on a lunar (moon) mission, to help fix a lunar colony that had been abandoned. When I visit many historic places in West Virginia, I feel like I am going back in time. It's also exciting to imagine what things will be like in the future!
|Here I am in the commander's chair, ready to take off!|
|The controls inside Altair, the part of the shuttle the mission|
specialists had to program to dock on the moon!
|Orion and Altair|
|This is inside Rising Star, the lunar space station where the mission|
specialists suited up for their moon walk!
|Mrs. Sponaugle is ready to fix that|
lunar colony! This space suit is similar
to what the real astronauts wear on their
missions! It is very heavy, and you wear a
vest with ice packs in it to stay cool!
|Climbing up into the lunar colony!|
|Here' Mrs. Sponaugle and the Texas Teacher|
of the Year repair a window. Those suits are
not easy to move around in when you still have gravity!
|Using teamwork to prepare a computer on the moon...|
|They both look so serious! I think they forgot that it was just pretend...|
After we completed our mission to the moon, I explored some of the exhibits in the building with the simulators. I found some very interesting things to share with you!
|An actual tire from a space shuttle!|
|This is the capsule that carried Miss Baker and Abel|
when they became the first U.S. animals in space!
|This is how Miss Baker was strapped into the capsule.|
|They were even on a cover of a magazine!|
I love it when animals do great things for our human friends!
|A Manned Maneuvering Unit is what the astronauts would be strapped in|
and attached to when doing an EVA from a space shuttle. You could still
do important work outside the shuttle and not get "lost in space."
|Where's Berkeley? Just sitting in a real|
Manned Maneuvering Unit!
Now, I did not make the height and weight requirements to do the following activities (I'm just a little black bear, you know), but I learned a lot from watching the teachers participate. Mrs. Sponaugle and the other teachers experienced what it would be like to be in free fall in space in the Multi-Axis Trainer (MAT) and how it would feel to walk on the moon in the 1/6 gravity chair (you only have 1/6 of your gravity on Earth when you are on the moon).
|I was a little disappointed that I was too small to participate, but|
I chose to have a good attitude about all of the other things I did get to do!
|Here is Mrs. Sponaugle going round and|
round in the MAT chair. It did not make you dizzy,
but it was very fast and you had no idea which direction
you would go in next.
|This is the 1/6 gravity chair. It's very|
difficult to move around without most of
your Earthly gravity! It feels like you are
floating, but it's hard work to move yourself
With only one more day of Space Camp (it had been a busy week, but I was a little sad to say good bye to all my teacher friends), there was one more special event that I am so happy to share with you. Boys and girls, I had the honor of meeting a very important West Virginian. Homer Hickam is a NASA engineer from Coalwood, West Virginia (that's in McDowell County). He has written many books, the most well known being Rocket Boys, which was the basis for a movie you may watch someday, October Sky. His teacher in high school encouraged him and his friends to go after the things that interested them and learn all they could! Homer and his Rocket Boy friends did a science fair project on rockets, and it won first place - at the International Science Fair!
|Here I am with Mr. Homer Hickam,|
Mrs. Sponaugle, and a copy of
Mr. Hickam's book, Rocket Boys. The
three of us are all very proud
What a wonderful week! I could tell Mrs. Sponaugle was very grateful and humbled to have all the special experiences. We both are so determined this school year to share what we have learned at to keep encouraging West Virginia students to reach for the stars.
|One more picture of that amazing Pathfinder...|
|...And of that beautiful replica of Saturn V!|
Until next time...