Q: How is the NASA programme beneficial for the students?
NASA space camp gives hands on opportunity to students to understand the intricacies of training which the astronauts have to go through. It gives the students a glimpse of the same.
Students also develop interest and get motivated in space related fields. Also interacting with the astronauts at the NASA is a rare opportunity that leaves an impression on their mind for a
Q: Is there an abroad tour for the students every year? How is it planned?
Yes. Every year a tour abroad is planned. Our school students had been to USA, Dubai and Abu Dhabi till now. Next year we are planning for Europe and / or China, Japan.
Q: How do these tours help?
Well, they do get to interact with the students from other schools. They interact with people from the country they are visiting. In fact, travelling abroad itself is a learning experience in itself.
Q: What type of activities was conducted in NASA? What are the learning outcomes for you?
With tall space shuttles pointing towards the sky, the place was filled with tourists. It was an overwhelming view. Afterwards we went to watch a 3D imax film. The movie was all about the Hubble telescope and its discoveries. Next we had lunch with Jim Reilly, who was a former astronaut. We had fun time as he spoke about his days in space.
We had a guided tour of the entire NASA’s visitor complex. The complex was very big. We also saw the launch pads of the Saturn and Apollo missions. The ‘journey to Atlantis space shuttle’ gave us a lot of information about the Atlantis mission. It also had a simulator, which made us feel like we were really going into space.
Q: Tell us about the interactions with the astronauts?
When we visited NASA Kennedy space centre, our adventure began with mission briefing and question-answer session with an eminent astronaut Sam Durance. We were divided into four teams. We enjoyed many stimulators in which micro-gravity wall was the best. At the micro-gravity wall, we were outfitted with harnesses and customised weights, which allowed us to climb and descend the wall in an almost effortless state. The bravest of recruits was taken on MAT, or multi-axis trainer, a device that spins and twirls the occupant in multiple directions and through 360 degree revolutions. Once we all fellow crew members were sufficiently trained, we were asked to perform a stimulated space shuttle mission in which each crew member was assigned a specific role. Each crew member was given to recite specific lines during the space shuttle mission, which contributed to the realistic feel. Finally, we celebrated our successful landing with a graduation ceremony, where we all were acknowledged for our hard work and co-operation.