International Space Camp 2008
Already from a window of our plane we can see 111 meters high Saturn V, identifying our place of residence during the following week. Marschall Space Flight Center was used as a rocket base since fifties, when Wernher von Braun and his team moved here from White Sands base, where had been an unwelcome problem for rocket testing – sand. Now, more than 50 years later, possible future hopes of the NASA’s space program are arriving here from the whole world…
Space Camp has been already held here for 26 years. Delegations from 21 countries participated in the International Space Camp this year. Our team, named Oberth (by well-known German rocket physics theoretic, Hermann Oberth), had thirteen members from six countries (there were six Americans and seven internationals – two from the Czech Republic and Canada, and one from Netherlands and also Costa Rica).
Main topic of the ISC was simulated missions. We could be disposed to three places – Space Station, Orbiter (the Space Shuttle) and MOCR (Mission Control). We got known different positions in NASA and real space missions as well as possible obstacles during them. I liked especially the Orbiter – being in the position of Mission Specialist, who does the extravehicular operations (EVA). We worked with a replica of the Canada Arm, machinery used in real EVA missions, and repaired a “damaged satellite”. At the end of our stay, we did a final 6 hours long EDM (Extended Duration Mission). I was happy when I had been chosen as a Mission Specialist 1 for the EDM.
One of the most amusing parts of the ISC was the simulators. We could try big overload, free fall, being in rotating rescue capsule, escape from sinking helicopter and also “moonwalk”. It was big fun as well as education.
I will always remember the International Space Camp as one of the most interesting, amusing and unforgettable weeks of my life. I’d like to say thanks all organizers in the USA as well as in the Czech Republic. I’d also like to quote Georg von Tiesenhausen and say: “Make a difference!”, because it might be possibly right you or someone from your neighborhood, who is a future astronaut or scientist.