There was a local grocery store right by my house that was offering an entry contest to win a trip to Space Camp. My mom and I filled out at least a hundred entries and dropped them off at the store, never expecting me to be one of the winners. Imagine our surprise when my name scrolled at the bottom of the TV one afternoon during "Ducktales" announcing me as one of the winners.
In the Summer of 1992 I packed a bag and flew to Huntsville, Alabama to become an astronaut for a week! It had to of been one of the best Summer camps I ever participated in and I will remember the experience for the rest of my life.
Space Camp takes place at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, one of the most comprehensive space flight hardware museums in the world. They offer 3 types of space programs: Space Camp, Space Academy, and Advanced Space Academy depending on your age group. The trip I won was for Space Camp as I was ten years old at the time. You have your choice of a 3 day camp or 6 day camp, mine was the 6 day camp.
For your week long adventure at the camp you learn anything and everything about Space Shuttle systems and life aboard the Orbiter and Station. We even got to try real space food and see how the astronauts sleep and go to the bathroom in space. Some of the other activites I got to participate in was astronaut training on the multi-axis trainer (spins you a bunch of times and while you are spinning you have to complete a bunch of tasks), sit on the 5-Degrees of Freedom chair, take a walk in the 1/6th gravity chair and much more!
Three of my most favorite activities that I remember were riding in this simulation machine that simulated you flying into space and when you got out you were "on the moon" and you had to collect samples. Another is when I got to be the actual pilot of the space shuttle and I had to land the shuttle on my own! What a scary responsibility to have as a ten year old!! And finally my third favorite activity was making and launching my own bottle rocket.
I spent my 5 nights in a room with three other girls that were my "teammates." If I remember correctly I think each team, or class, had about 15 total split between boys and girls.
The trip also included all my lodging, meals, materials, and activities. If you are interested in finding out more about Space Camp you can go to www.spacecamp.com. I went on there to check current prices and depending on when you go and for how long prices range from $599 to $999. WOW! I definitely got lucky winning this trip!