Monday, July 11, 2016

de Jong Boys go to Space Camp: Day 5




Niels' observations of the day:

And then it was Sunday, the last day of camp and the great trek back up North. We got to sleep-in a little and some extra time to pack-up our suitcases before our last cafeteria meal. 


As it was the last day we had some evaluations to do and one last shot at the rides in the Rocket Park. I hadn't done the G-Force Accelerator yet and wanted to check it out. It's quite a ride I can tell you. You really feel the G's being tacked on. Very odd to barely be able to put our your arms as they were 4 times as heavy!! Oh, and don't lift your head of the head-rests... Just try it and you know why :-) 


Once back in 1G we walked over to Habitat (Hab) 2 for the team presentations from last night's projects. The kids got to present their space station designs while the adults got to present their mission patches. I thought ours rocked (literally, as it incorporated  Commander Chris Hadfield's cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff") as well as all of our names and 15 stars (once for each Team Orion member).


We had one last official item on the agenda... The graduation ceremony. We all got to come up front in the NatGeo theater of the Donaldson Center (the building that houses the horizontal Saturn V) and our team won the Spirit award!! Go Team Orion!!




And from the high of the spirit award to the low of the realization that camp was now officially over.


We hung around for the IMAX move 'Journey to Space' as it was cancelled yesterday to technically difficulties. Well worth it, cool movie! 




Jen and I figured D would want an official (aka expensive) blue jumpsuit as his souvenir, but I was happy to see that he was more than content with the 3 unofficial jumpsuits and the lab coat Jen made him. When he asked for the much less expensive snap circuit set, I was happy to oblige.


That left us with one thing left to do... the 625 miles to drive home, but not before a few more pictures from around camp.






We decided to drive home all in one go with only a dinner stop at Culver's (we HAVE to!) and in Nashville to complete our abruptly cancelled walk through the Opryland Hotel from Thursday before we made it home a little after 2am. Not bad after leaving Huntsville, AL at 4:30pm...


D's observations for the day:

What did I do: Got a really, really, really cool Snap Circuit Electronics kit, Graduate from Space Camp, I finished the e-book of 'The Martian'.

What was the best part of the day: Got a really, really, really cool Snap Circuit Electronics kit

My favorite picture to remember today is:

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

de Jong Boys go to Space Camp: Day 4


Today's Location:


Space Camp * US Space and Rocket Center

Today's Intinerary:


Niels' observations for the day:

Last full day of Space Camp as tomorrow it's mainly about Graduation time. 



Today we started with Mission Bravo training, a Shuttle Mission. D got a wish come true as he was selected for the position as Flight Director or 'Flight' in Mission Control speak. 


After the training we got to spend some time on the MMU, the Manned Maneuvering Unit which simulates a space walk. Both the kids and the parents had some fun with that one...




We also got to finish and launch our rockets today. We launched them by the RV camp site behind the Marriott hotel. They all went up without an issue and all parachutes deployed as planned. The actual landing on about half our rockets was less successful as a nice wind out of the north blew them into the trees immediately south of the launch site. 


Unfortunately ours were some of the rockets that landed in the trees. D had to take some time to himself as he was really looking forward to taking his rocket home and launch it again but one of team members graciously offered D one of their rockets so he still gets to take one home albeit not the one he build himself.



Post-chow time we went to the IMAX theater to see 'Journey to Space' but that journey was cut short as one of the operators walked into the sold-out theater that they had to cancel the showing due to 'technical difficulties'. That gave us some extra time to browse the gift shop and some more family time before we started our second mission (Mission Bravo) on which D was Flight.



The team is really starting to come together and we did a near flawless mission and had lots of fun during the times we didn't have any mission objectives to complete. 



One of the fun bits was that D started singing 'Hot Stuff' again and our Team Orion all agreed that this is now our official team motto and we have incorporated this into our official Team Orion Mission Patch.


Before dinner we split our team into parents and kids and Team Dragon did the same and I think both are designing some patches but we are not supposed to know yet so we'll see about that tomorrow. We worked some more on the patches after dinner before a quick look at the dive tank before we got our last info sessions, this time on the Shuttle (or STS) and the new SLS/Orion program.





Tomorrow, we do evaluations, team presentations and graduations before we start our trek back up to Ohio.




D's observations for the day:

What did I do: 1) Got to ride the MMU, fired my rocket, got to be Flight on Bravo Mission

What was the best part of the day: That I got to be 'Flight'.

My favorite picture to remember today is:



If you have a question for D about his experience, leave a message for him in the comments!

Read other posts about our trip here:


Linked to:
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Friday, July 8, 2016

de Jong Boys go to Space Camp: Day 3


Today's location:




Today's Intinerary:


Niels's observations for the day:

First full day of space camp. After breakfast we started with our mission training. D and I where Mission Specialist 7 and 8 and we had the cool job of doing an EVA to 'fix the solar panel' for the lunar base 'Raising Star'. D was a little disappointed he didn't get the 'Flight Director' position but maybe he has a shot at it on the 2nd mission tomorrow.


After training it was off to the 1/6th gravity chair that simulates walking on the moon where you weigh only 1/6th of your weight on Earth. It's basically a big metal chair on a set of strong springs they prime to your weight and then you get to bounce around... Really cool!





When you're at Space Camp you got to build and fire your own rockets, so after the chair we were off to build our rockets. We will be launching them somewhere tomorrow.



While building your own rockets is cool, so is learning from a former NASA Saturn first stage engineer. He was a wealth of knowledge and for a good hour he entertained us with his stories on how we got from the V2 to Saturn V and everything that happened in between.






Now that we know all about the design and background of the rockets it was time to 'fly' one ourselves on our first mission that we trained for earlier in the day. D was still not 100% over his non-flight position but he pushed through for the sake of team and together with me we aced our EVA and saved the lunar station.


After each mission its time for some R&R and we took the time to get a few things out of the car, slightly re-arrange our sleeping positions and made it back in time for the IMAX movie 'A Beautiful Planet' narrated by Jennifer Lawrence and all filmed by the ISS crew on Mission 43/44 (I believe).



Just before dinner we learned about a program that Sally Ride started, called 'EarthCam'. It's free for educators and allows students to submit photo request to a camera on the ISS during certain weeks of the year. That one is going to D's school as a recommendation. How cool would it be to have your photo request fulfilled from the ISS...



After grub time we did another simulator chair, called the 5DF (5 degrees of freedom). It will allow you all movement, except up/down and while strapped in you need to navigate a wall and turn a wrench without being thrusted into space.


The mission patch design was switched with a Night at the Museum where we did a scavenger hunt based on questions that had answers on some of the story board in the Saturn V room. Good idea to let the kids run around before bed.


We wanted to take a few more pictures outside afterwards but a lightning storm forced us into our bunks. Speaking of bunks... Goodnight!!



D's observations for the day:

What did I do:

What was the best part of the day: The bed, it felt really soft when I woke up (seriously, that was his answer!)

Three things to remember are: 1) The 5 degrees of freedom chair, 2) the moon chair, 3) shaking hands with Robonaut

My favorite picture to remember today is: Shaking hands with Robonaut


If you have a question for D about his experience, leave a message for him in the comments!

Read other posts about our trip here:


Linked to:


1.        
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