Reach for the Stars MLXVI

Daily Briefings.

Daily Briefings is an attempt to clarify the experience of our students’ mission, and to provide insight to what is seen in the gallery.



Sam from Team Aldrin accepts the Right Stuff award.

“I have learned to use the word ‘impossible’ with the greatest caution.” — Wernher von Braun.

Parents, we hope your child has returned home with a renewed interest in learning.

Students, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center experience is designed to show you how science and math can be tools to help you accomplish your goals, and open up greater potential for own future.

But our mission really began at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2010. On that day, 22 students and their families decided that yes, we can make this happen. And you did.




Students participate in two simulated missions during the week.

Space exploration involves missions. Training for them is all about preparing for an environment that requires absolute teamwork. There is a process or procedure for each stage of the mission. Everything is scripted and rehearsed.

This rigid context forms a baseline from which our young friends perform their assigned roles. Anything could (and often does) happen. In those moments, and in the post-mission debriefings, they realize exactly how vital training and team work can be.


Area 51

Area 51 and the rocket launch facility provides relief from mission electronics and the mechanical din of the simulators.

“The first two simulators were boring, but that [MAT], that is heaven” — Haydn, MAT enthusiast.

Area 51 is an experience designed to boost morale, strengthen teams, motivate and inspire. Staged in the woods, it provides a break from technology and a welcome immersion in a setting that only nature can provide.

Team Calypso participated in the Leadership Reaction Course. The crew was split into smaller groups and a leader was designated for each obstacle. The term obstacle best describes the mental and collaborative challenges. The activities are not really physically demanding.

Focus and cooperation are critical. Tasks often require several attempts. It is so difficult that actually completing the task is of secondary importance. We hope the facial expressions as captured in photographs are sufficient to convey the level of their determination.


Area 51

Aissatou and her teammates present one possible concept for Aldrin's mission patch.

“Can't you make this end?” — Sam, seeking guidance from the Aldrin crew leader.

The mission patch is an emblem that each crew designs to represent their team and their mission. It's more than just a picture—it is a symbol of their identity and depicts the objectives of their mission.

So how do you sort through many ideas from individuals and produce one collective concept? What happens when there is no clear delegation of authority? What does it require to resolve our differences on our own?

The importance of communication and teamwork become even more apparent during the first missions. Simulator training prepares students for their individual roles. But no amount of individual performance will carry a team through to a successful mission.



Training on simulators begins in earnest.

“I'm so excited, it's so fun here” — Miles, on Space Camp.

Preparing for the missions includes getting the feel for what it is like to train to be an astronaut.

Astronauts who train for each American crewed space flight program have been tested and prepared for their flight through the use of simulators: machines that re-create the feeling of being in space.

The following are simulators that campers train on at Space Camp.



Paul and Renee—all systems are go!

“They’re all nice” — Renee, describing her team and roommates.

Greetings from Huntsville, Alabama!

The flights were perfect. The timing was good, everyone was well fed, and is well rested (hopefully).

All of our students are on just two teams. Tracking and photographing their experience will be a snap. In addition to the photos, we'll provide more of a narrative of the activities here.