Space Camp student looks up

One 1995 graduate of Space Camp became a captain in the Italian Air Force, spent 199 consecutive days in space and had a Barbie doll created in her likeness.

Another 1995 graduate of Space Camp is writing this blog post.

So, Samantha Cristoforetti … let’s call it a tie?

You’ll find Space Camp alumni both around the globe and orbiting above it. At least 10 have become astronauts, and 61% are currently in or studying for careers in aerospace, defense, energy, education, biotech or technology. We’ve taken different paths, but I’m betting all of us will agree on this: Our Space Camp experience was out of this world.

My week at Space Camp, which I blogged about in 2015, turned a long-simmering interest in space into something I could experience with all five senses. It made 11-year-old me more confident in school, a better leader and teammate, and a more strategic thinker.

Not that I realized any of that at the time, mind you. I just knew I was having fun not merely dressing up as an astronaut — but actually living like one.

Space Camp also served as a perfect complement to my science education in school and to my Scouting career. Indeed, attendees at most of Space Camp’s weeklong programs complete a range of merit badge requirements, adding a little bonus to an already wonderful week.

Space Camp participants smile

So why am I bringing this up now?

Black Friday weekend is the only time each year when Space Camp programs go on sale.

Head to the official sale page for all the details, but here are the basics:

  • Families can get $100 off weeklong camps, $50 off Adult Space Academy and $50 off Family Space Camp.
  • The sale runs from Black Friday (Nov. 29, 2019) through Cyber Monday (Dec. 2, 2019).
  • Still finalizing your 2020 dates for family vacations or Scout summer camp? No problem. You can reserve your space now and select your Space Camp dates later.

Space Camp participants in a simulation

U.S. Space and Rocket Center turns 50

Space Camp is one of four programs at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. (The others are Aviation Challenge, Space Camp Robotics and U.S. Cyber Camp.)

The year 2020 will mark the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s 50th birthday, and the celebration will span the entire year and include Space Camp programs.

A brief history lesson:

  • Dr. Wernher von Braun, the founder of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, developed launch vehicles for NASA. In doing so, he transformed Huntsville from the “Watercress Capital of the World” into a hub of technological innovation.
  • Huntsville is where rockets were developed that put the first U.S. satellite into orbit and sent men to the moon, propulsion for the space shuttle was developed, and modules for the International Space Station were designed and built.
  • That pursuit of innovation has only accelerated since. Today, scientists in Huntsville are building the ship that could send humans to Mars.

Space Camp overhead view of International Space Station simulator

Hands-on immersion

Space Camp attendees get a close-up view of Huntsville’s important place in the past and future of space travel. This is no VR headset simulation; it’s true hands-on immersion.

“They don’t just read about going to the moon, they see a vehicle like the ones that took astronauts there. They stand under a full-stack shuttle display, giving them a true sense of what it takes to travel to space,” says Patricia Ammons, Space Camp’s director of communications. “Our Space Camp training area creates a unique environment and hands-on activities that can’t be duplicated in a classroom or even on a university campus.”

Today’s young people expect experiences, and Scouters know that kids learn more by doing than by seeing or hearing. Space Camp delivers six days of learn-by-doing experiences.

“Space Camp students get a real-world application of what they’re learning in the classroom,” Ammons says. “They see the relevance of the STEM subjects as they take part in their simulated astronaut training and missions to space.”

They also learn there are others just like them — kids who geek out on space and find joy in gazing at the night sky and pondering the answers it holds.

“They meet other students who have the same passion for space and STEM they do,” Ammons says. “They leave Space Camp knowing how they can make a career out of their interests.”

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