Lauren Reynoldson-Ross Space Camp adventures: Part one

by Nicole Gundi | Aug 08, 2017

Lauren Reynoldson was one of two ASG students selected to attend International Space Camp at the U.S Space & Rocket Center in Alabama in July 2017. Lauren had an amazing experience and shares the highlights of her trip. 

Saturday 8th
Our journey began at the international terminal of Sydney airport where Jake, Meth and I checked in our baggage and attempted probably in vain to curb our ever growing excitement.  Almost 16 hours later, Meth, Jake and I decided to take a trip into Dallas city centre as we had an 8 hour layover. We traveled eagerly around the ‘West End’ and snapped some pics including that infamous grassy null involved in the shooting of President John F Kennedy. 

outside of space camp

With a flight delay at Dallas, it was past midnight by the time we arrived at Space Camp, which legitimately felt like a space station. 

Sunday 9th
After a wonderful recovery sleep and a delicious buffet breakfast the next morning, we were grouped into our teams for the week. I was in team ‘MARINERIS’ and met people from New Zealand, America, Belgium, Norway and Costa Rica.

international flags

We learnt about our missions and challenges in the week to come and also went on space-themed joy rides, the ‘G-Force’ and ‘Space Shot’. Both experiences left a bizarre sensation in my stomach. The time had finally came for the ‘Opening Ceremony’ to commence. Jake had dressed up as Dame Edna, Meth as Crocodile Dundee and myself as Kylie Minogue. We chose Australian celebrities, rather than animals to represent our country. We wowed the crowd, managed to get a few laughs and as each country took their turn, we learnt a great deal about their history. The camp then gifted us with the opportunity to learn a bit of Russian dialogue, as NASA has a strong relationship with the Russian Space Program. 

 

inside space camp auditorium

Monday 10th
Today began with a bang as we got to watch the testing of rocket fuel in its different states - gas, liquid and solids. The flames were so huge that they nearly set the instructors hair on fire! It was now time for our first mission training where we were each assigned a role. I played in the CAPCOM (Capsule Communication) where I was the only person who could communicate with the ‘Space Shuttle’. It was a lot of fun but stressful at times! After lunch, we learnt about the water and fuel systems in the International Space Station and we then built our own rockets to transport our eggstranauts (yes that's right eggs that were astronauts) into space and safely back home again. After dinner, we learned to purify Martian water by using a hot plate and a conical flask! We finished the day by working against four other teams to build different objects with only a few items in a short amount of time. Our team was lucky enough to take the win! The day was full of excitement and many new friendships had been made.

Lauren with space rocket

Tuesday 11th
Today I scuba dived for the very first time. It was quite an experience playing basketball with a bowling ball and playing rock, paper, scissors in an eight metre deep tank with other teams watching from the windows. After resurfacing, we built a small heat shield out of various materials and then tested it under the pressure of a blow torch for three minutes. Unfortunately, mine did not survive. We also learnt about the medical side of space, and how the loss of gravity affects our body. Did you know that astronauts lose five kilograms of weight due to the weakening of the Musculoskeletal system, meaning that they have to exercise for two hours every day! It was now time to complete our second mission to the ‘International Space Station’ where I was a scientist and worked alongside the Commander to investigate the sensation and difference of taste in dehydrated food. Apparently, apple pie in space tastes like apple pie on earth! We then made our way to teamwork course, ‘Area 51’, where we rock climbed and experienced the thrill of zip lining. My leadership qualities were tested and I am proud to say shined through. We finished the day by star/planet gazing; Saturn, Jupiter and a ‘clump’ of beautiful stars 1000 light years away!

Lauren will fill us in with the rest of her trip highlights in next week's blog post. 

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