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.



Liam from Team America 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 8, 2012. On that day, 24 students and their families decided that yes, we can make this happen. And you did.



Area 51

Team Deimos in Shackleton Mission Control on the lunar surface.

“Put on your headsets, people!” — Phoebe, Flight Director, working through a communication problem.

The Orion Mission that team Deimos participated in provided us with a first look at the newest mission experience from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

It is far and away the most sophisticated mission conducted at the academy level. It is far and away in concept too. Mission control is not in Houston—it is on the surface of the moon.

The mission objective is a crew exchange. Simple, right? Not even close: launch from Earth, flight to the moon, two space craft, orbital rendezvous, lab experiments, three EVAs and an emergency or two.

The objectives were complex and ambitious, requiring better teamwork and increased personal commitment. We don't yet have all of the details from the post mission briefing. So until we do, ask your crew member.



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

Team America evaluating their mission patch concepts.

“Remember everyone: let’s be professional.” — Beni, to his crew before their bravo mission.

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.

“How are the campers doing? Are they doing ok?” — Beni, checking-up on the younger campers.

Preparing for 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 have prepared for their flight using simulators: machines that re-create the feeling of being in space.

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



The tram in Atlanta.

“They’ll have a lunar mission in our new capsule simulator.” — Manager, describing a new mission for Academy.

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.