Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Day Four - Rocket Launch!

Today we toured the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, in the Saturn V hall, under the impressive Saturn V rocket. The fully loaded Saturn V launch vehicle with the Apollo Spacecraft stands 60 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty on its pedestal and weighs 13 times as much as the statue. We then went into the capsule simulator, which showed the command panel display including 24 instruments, 566 switches, 40 even indicators (mechanical), and 71 lights. We had a closer look at the space suits that the astronauts had to wear to protect them from the hot and cold, and radiation particles.

We then visited the Imax Movie theatre, to watch the documented launch of the first space shuttle launched into space. The Space shuttle Columbia took off in 1981. In American style, I purchased a giant popcorn and soft drink, even with two people drinking and eating, we only got a third of the way down.  

After the exhilaration of the Columbia’s safe landing, we were given a host of teaching resources! Fun lesson plans to encourage students learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM).

Now the bit that we had all been waiting for! The Launching of our rockets. Our rockets were ignited and zoomed into the air. Sadly because of gunpowder laws I am unable to bring back my rocket – however, the NASA team know this, so have assured me that they will provide me with a new, unopened packet to bring home! YAY!  

Astronaut training – with simulated moonwalk and center of gravity simulator. I can not tell you how much fun this was. The moonwalk was not as easy as you think – moving up and down was fine, but going anywhere else took a lot more skill. I could of played (Whoops…trained) on this all day. The Center of gravity simulator made me laugh so loud, I just had to go on it again!

I then faced my greatest fear……going on the Space shooter. This shoots you high up into the sky and then you bounce back down again…not quite the tower of terror, but close to it. As it sends you up – you lose gravity at the top for a few seconds. I then rode on the Graviator! This spins you round and round and round at a G Force of 3. The first monkeys that went into space experienced a G Force of 32. Neil Armstrong experienced a G Force of 16. But still only a few of us Educators were brave enough to do it. I would like to thank Connor, Curtis, Ciara, Casey and Cameron for making me go on a similar ride over and over again at Dream World! This one I was not scared of!

Our final activity of the day was to create a Luna Telescope station. We were assessed on our presentation, our finances, and our creativity! I think we did rather well! 
Astronauts Sheva and Mark

Our team designed this Badge to represent
Team Columbia - See if you can work out
what it is suppose to represent and why?


  1. So it seems you are really enjoying yourself. Now that America is no longer sending shuttles into space, what plans are there for the future of NASA?


  2. The end of the space shuttle program does not mean the end of NASA, or even of NASA sending humans into space. NASA has a robust program of exploration, technology development and scientific research that will last for years to come.

    NASA is still exploring the solar system and is working towards landing humans on Mars with the intention of 21 day missions from the very beginning

    NASA has also been looking at ways of protecting the Earth from future Asteroids, through interception and leading the asteroid of a collision course to Earth. We already know that Asteroids have the potential of causing a lot of damage if a collision was to occur.

    NASA is also involved in the International Space Station, which is the centerpiece of their human spaceflight activities in low Earth orbit. The ISS is fully staffed with a crew of six, and American astronauts will continue to live and work there in space 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Part of the U.S. portion of the station has been designated as a national laboratory, and NASA is committed to using this unique resource for scientific research.

    So as you can see NASA is still very busy! NASA still advertise every year for new engineers, scientists and astronauts.

    It costs a lot of money to send one astronaut into space, which is why they don't personally send any more astronauts up. Instead they hitch a ride with Russian cosmonauts......a little bit like car sharing. Not only is it better for the environment, but it saves NASA a lot of money.

    How much do you think it costs NASA to send an astronaut into space?


  3. Well by the sounds of what you have said I am going to guess that sending one astronaut up into space will be over the million dollars....I can only assume that catching a lift with the Russians is more cost effective for them. Thank you for all the information on what NASA is doing. Sometimes we can forget that there is much more to outer space than sending people to the moon. Keep the information coming..


    1. It costs $75,000,000 American dollars to hitch a ride with on a Russian Rocket. Thats a lot of money to blow in one trip! So American started to Rocket Pool!

      Space Camp here in Huntsville not only provides and introduction to space and aviation to children all over the world, but also educators - so that they pass on this information and love of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths to more and more children each year.

      They also have a program where children who are blind, autistic and even 'Little people' are catered for. The Space Camp makes adaptions to all the screens and buttons to ensure that ALL children have access to the same experiences.

      Sadly a few of the other Space Camps in America closed due to parents unwilling to send their children across the US by plane due to 9/11. On a more positive note, more and more educators are spreading the word on how brilliant and rewarding Space Camp is. Jennifer our Group Leader kept saying that "Once you've been to Space Camp, you will be a changed person, never the same again". Oh how right she is. I can not wait to get into a class room and share my experiences with the students......our future space explorers.

  4. Have any of the experiments for space travel made you feel nauseous?

    Seeing you wearing the space suit, and imagining you in it sitting in the cone made me realize how very little space astronauts have during lift-off. Thank you, Sheva.


    1. When the Astronauts blast off, a 3 mile radius is cleared, to ensure everyone is kept safe from the sound waves or any other possible dangers. Mean while, the Astronaut is in a tiny little capsule right on top! Don Thomas said that he noted how far away everyone was, which was a little concerning as he was sitting right on top of a lot of explosives!

      I have to admit, the Space Shot experience was not my favourite and I needed a lot of self talking to get my self up there. But it said I did it on my t-shirt, so I was going to do it. The Graviator ride, made me laugh more than anything else.

      Sad to say good bye to all my new American friends and the special people who work here at the Space and Rocket Center at Huntville, Alabama.

  5. What an amazing experuience Shiva. Hope you kept that popcorn down when you flew up! Regards Lyn Duffy

    1. It has been a very rewarding experience. I have learnt so many new things and now have access to a whole host of resources, to ensure that I keep this love of teaching space and science to our students.

      To think that someone sitting in our class room could be an engineer on Mars or a scientist ensuring that we have a safe and healthy environment on a Space Station.

      After all - they are our future.

      Thank you Lyn for your Post, I hope to come back and Visit Kawana Waters State School in term 4, just after I have finished my final prac.


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