Alyssa Putnam, Gardner, attended Camp KAOS Space 101 program at the Cosmosphere this summer.
Alyssa, a freshman at Gardner Edgerton High School, attended the four-day introductory astronaut training camp in June. The camp emphasized teamwork, leadership and problem-solving. Developed by Cosmosphere staff, Camp KAOS science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based programs are nationally-recognized for their ability to motivate campers to seek careers in science and aerospace-related industries.
Participants construct and launch rockets, attend interactive briefings with Cosmosphere space science educators, tour the world-renowned Hall of Space Museum and train on Cosmosphere spaceflight simulators. The week culminates with a team-based mission in the Cosmosphere’s Falcon III, the most realistic space shuttle simulator outside of NASA – where they pilot a low-Earth orbit mission – and the monitoring of another team’s shuttle flight in Mission Control.
Cosmosphere spaceflight simulators challenge campers. The centrifuge is a rotating device that tests physical reactions to typical g-forces encountered during launch and reentry of spacecraft. The multi-axis trainer spins riders 360 degrees in multiple directions while simulating tumble maneuvers that could be encountered in spaceflight. The stress simulator incorporates external stimuli into a mission to replicate potential stressful situations a person might encounter during spaceflight. The Falcon III simulates launch, orbit, satellite deployment, reentry and landing of a space shuttle.
The Cosmosphere offers camp programs for students as young as those entering second grade, and on through high school. Camps are available for adults, including the Intergenerational Camp Experience for adults and their children or grandchildren. Additional camp experiences are offered for groups, and schools can custom-design curriculum based on state education standards. The Cosmosphere also has programs designed specifically for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Webelos and the American Heritage Girls.
The Cosmosphere’s Camp KAOS program features five progressive levels for students entering seventh grade. Campers begin with Space 101 and 201, which are held at the Cosmosphere and visit other nearby facilities. They move on to Space 301, which includes a trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s astronaut training facilities. Those who progress to Space 401 travel to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where campers experience NASA launch facilities. The most advanced campers in Space 501 focus on emerging space technology facilities in California.