For a summer camp experience that educates and entertains children ages 8 to 16, Camp Kennedy Space Center day camp provides young people with an inspiring week of fun and enriching activities. The camp, which incorporates STEM learning and NASA-based curriculum, runs weekly beginning June 8 and ending August 7, 2015. Camp Kennedy Space Center is all new this year with educational activities to keep kids engaged and learning during the summer.
This year’s theme is “Engineering Our Future” and focuses on the engineering design process. Campers, or crewmembers, are invited to learn about the importance of engineering in the U.S. Space Program through hands-on challenges. The interactive program, led by Kennedy Space Center educators, encourages growth in science, technology, engineering and math, and strengthens teamwork and communication skills.
Throughout the five day program, campers perform a simulated space shuttle mission where they deploy a satellite or dock their payload to the International Space Station (ISS). They “train like an astronaut” in a Multi-Axis Trainer, similar to what Mercury astronauts used to condition themselves for disorienting situations that may occur in an emergency. Older grade levels have the opportunity to climb the micro-gravity wall, which simulates the effects zero-gravity has on movement and weight.
Camp KSC is designed with age appropriate content, placing campers into teams based on their grade levels. Each team works on their own week-long project surrounding the theme of engineering, such as designing a truss bridge strong enough to support an “eggstronaut,” building a small-scale multipurpose crew vehicle similar to NASA’s Orion capsule, maintaining a hydroponics garden and designing, building and launching rockets. The various tracks offered during Camp KSC include:
Team Enterprise (2nd and 3rd graders)
Crewmembers in Team Enterprise explore engineering principles important in keeping an astronaut safe during launch and reentry. They will design and build a strong truss bridge to support the weight of their “eggstronaut” and build a spacecraft that can withstand extreme temperatures in order to keep “butternaut” alive during reentry. Others activities include training like an astronaut with fitness activities to test and improve reflexes and strength, creating impact craters and designing, building and testing gliders. The Enterprise track is offered weekly beginning June 8 and ending Aug. 7.
Team Atlantis (4th and 5th graders)
Atlantis crewmembers participate in various team-oriented projects such as creating and maintaining a hydroponic garden to investigate the growth of different seeds and designing, building and testing self-propelled rovers. Crewmembers learn to build multi-purpose crew vehicles, similar to NASA’s Orion capsule, then test its safety features by launching the crew vehicle from a slingshot to the landing zone. Campers also build and launch chemical reaction rockets using baking soda and vinegar, and climb a micro-gravity wall. The Atlantis track is offered weekly beginning June 8 and ending Aug. 7. Availability for this grade level goes quickly.
Team Endeavour (6th and 7th graders)
Endeavour crewmembers create their own rover capable of navigating a rough terrain similar to Mars. Before they explore the terrain, they must build a landing module and design a door that allows the rover to exit the spacecraft. Campers safely land the rover from a height of almost 33 feet and ensure their “eggstronaut” a secure exit to the ground. Campers also build and launch solid fuel rockets using a special kit that guides teams through important engineering steps. Other activities include preserving food using the method of dehydration and vacuum sealing, just like astronauts do for long duration missions to the ISS. The Endeavour track is offered weekly beginning June 8 and ending Aug. 7.
Team Discovery (8th and 9th graders)
Campers on Team Discovery use a high-tech computer program called “RockSim” to design and customize their own 8- to 16-inch rocket. In smaller teams, campers purchase materials and build their rockets while staying within a designated budget. After building the solid fuel rockets, campers launch them to complete specific missions. Campers also perform a space shuttle mission, involving launching the shuttle then docking their payload to the International Space Station. The Discovery track is offered weekly beginning June 8 and ending Aug. 7.
Team Orion (10th and 11th graders)
Team Orion concentrates on the science of astrophysics with a focus on the sun. Campers construct telescopes by using 3D printer technology to fabricate parts. Campers then use the telescope for a study of the sun. Using the knowledge from their study, they design a solar-powered community using photovoltaic cells or solar cells, converting the energy of light into electricity. Campers also train like an astronaut on a Multi-Axis trainer and climb a microgravity wall. The Orion track is only offered during the weeks of June 22-26, July 13-17 and Aug. 3-7.
Robotics Track (6th through 9th graders)
The Robotics Track specializes in the science and engineering behind building and programming robots. Campers work in teams to design their robots using LEGO® Robotics materials. Once built, they navigate their robots through a challenge course and perform a series of tasks. Throughout the week, campers complete a space shuttle mission, train on a Multi-Axis trainer and climb a micro-gravity wall. The Robotics Track is only offered during the weeks of June 8-12, June 15-19, June 29-July 3, July 6-10, July 20-24 and July 27-31.
Every track includes a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex where campers will see the real Space Shuttle AtlantisSM; take-off in a simulated shuttle launch on Shuttle Launch Experience; meet a veteran NASA astronaut to hear how he or she accomplished their dream; and see the brand new 3D film “Journey To Space,” a stunning piece showcasing NASA’s bold plans for the future, including landing astronauts on Mars and capturing asteroids, while recognizing the Space Shuttle Program and its many accomplishments. Campers also receive a camp T-shirt, designed with the “Engineering Our Future” theme for 2015. At the end of the week, all campers attend a graduation ceremony at the Astronaut Encounter Theater in the Visitor Complex.
Camp Kennedy Space Center is located at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame’s® educational facility, just south of U.S. 1 near the entrance to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Tuition is $295 per week plus tax, paid in advance. For more information or to book a reservation, visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com or call 866-870-8285.