Local student Kaitlyn Chin spent a week this summer at Space Camp in Huntsville, AL.

The exploration of space is on everyone’s mind as we look to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Man’s first steps on the Moon. There is no better time to attend the Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, home of Space Camp®, Space Camp® Robotics™, Aviation Challenge®, U.S. Cyber Camp® and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center.

Kaitlyn Chin, a student from Riverview, recently got to do just that this summer.

“Space Academy is truly an experience of a lifetime. While I was there, I got to work with a team of kids from around the country. We launched missions to the ISS and trained like astronauts using gravity-defying simulations and built and launched our own rockets.”

The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

“For my favorite challenge though, we got to build a structure underwater and feel what it was like to have to build something without gravity,” she said. “Space Academy is an amazingly fun camp for any kid, even if you are not that interested in STEM.”

This program is specifically designed for trainees who have a passion for space exploration. Chin spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon or Mars.

Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.

More than 850,000 trainees have graduated from a Space Camp® program since its inception in Huntsville, AL in 1982, including European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronauts Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Dr. Kate Rubins, Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Christina Koch, who is serving onboard the International Space Station.

For more information, visit www.spacecamp.com or call 1-800-637-7223 for more information.