I spent the weekend with Tom Cruise...

...and 53 kids.

I just returned from a fun filled weekend at Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Our team leader just happened to be a look a like for Tom Cruise during his Top Gun days.

Maybe it's the jump suit. Maybe it's the aviators. Maybe it's charisma. But I think that these two guys could be brothers. 

Our Crew Leader, Anthony, made the whole camp 10 times more fun and exciting and insightful. He was a plethora of information. He has a great way of getting and keeping the kids attention. He gave them the same respect that he expected in return. And I am proud to say that my team of kids were an awesome bunch. They brought their dignity and respect with them. 

Great Job Super Awesome Timber Tigers/White Team/Casper!!!

I can see the confused look on your face. Three team names? Yes that is correct.

First we were assigned to be the White Team.

Then on the bus ride down, we created some team unity by creating a team name, sign and song/cheer/chant. Thus the Super Awesome Timber Tigers. Many of us had never heard of Timber Tigers before. But one team member convinced us that it has something to do with the color White. And so that is what the team decided on. 

Upon a quick Google search, just now, I see three Timber Tiger options: a fishing lure, another name for a Siberian Chipmunk or a name for a Nintendo character. Hmm....none of them are quite as fierce as "Awesome Austin" led us to believe. 

Casper is the official Space Camp team name. That name comes from the Apollo 16 command module.

Throughout the three days at camp, we were filled with lots of Space travel history and facts. If I actually got up and got my Space Camp Journal, I could tell you some of those interesting facts. But my brain did not retain much of it. My goal was to know the kid's names, and not lose any of them :). The space program knowledge was farther down on my priorities.

I did enjoy many of the simulators with the kids:
The G-Force - experience centrifugal force.
 1/16th Chair - training on how to walk on the moon in 1/16th of the earth's gravity.
Mission - Our team each took on a specific job for a mission in space. 
I was the Mission Scientist, stationed in Mission Control in Houston. I communicated with the scientists in Skylab Space Station. Exciting stuff. Others commanded the shuttle, walked in space, managed the propulsions, monitored the weather and directed the flight. 

This interesting contraption might look like a modern day torture machine. To some people it might be just that. To me, it was so much fun.
 This is the MAT: Multi Axis Trainer.
It spins you in every direction to simulate being out of control in space. 
This trainer helped save astronauts lives, as they learned to right themselves in the event of free floating during a space walk. 
My "training" wasn't quite so intense or important. But it was fun!

This cool looking building is our "hotel" during camp. Habitat 2.

 The inside is just as "space looking" as the outside. 
All of their signs correspond to what you would find on the space shuttle or space station. 

Even with a 12 hour bus ride, the efforts of entertaining and maintaining 53 Jr High age kids and hauling way more stuff that we needed, I would do the whole trip over again next weekend. It was a great experience. I'm glad that I got to chaperone. I'm thrilled that so many kids get the opportunity to learn in such an exciting way. And I'm looking forward to the next trip in 2 years and many more adventures.


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