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Two Kingsport students trained at space camp over the summer

Staff Reports • Sep 5, 2019 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — A D-B EXCEL sophomore and Jefferson Elementary fourth-grader may not yet have a seat on the first manned trip to Mars, but they did rack up some training experience this summer at the Advanced Space Academy just in case.

However, “manned trip” is a misnomer, since both Kingsport City Schools students who attended the camp are female.

D-B EXCEL’s Jacey McCloud and Jefferson’s Addalyn DeWeese attended the camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC), home of Space Camp, Space Camp Robotics, Aviation Challenge, U.S. Cyber Camp and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center.

The week-long educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students through hands-on activities. Missions  were based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

The program is specifically designed for trainees who have a passion for space exploration. McCloud spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the moon or Mars. The crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extravehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk. Jacey and crew returned to Earth in time to graduate with honors.

Addalyn did the same type of activities, and like Jacey was attending her first year at space camp. Addalyn’s dream is to be the first woman on Mars, and she is already signed up to attend next summer’s camp.

“Although I was nervous going in, Space Camp gave me an opportunity to branch out and explore possibilities I never knew that I could reach,” Jacey said. “This unique experience has given me greater confidence and excitement for the next new opportunity.”

Space Camp operates year-round in Huntsville, Alabama, and uses astronaut training techniques to engage participants in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.

More than 900,000 trainees have graduated from a Space Camp program since its inception 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. Koch is serving onboard the ISS. Children and teachers from all 50 states and almost 150 international locations have attended a Space Camp program.

For more information, go online to www.spacecamp.com or call (800) 637-7223.

The USSRC, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is home to the Apollo 16 capsule, the National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket and world-class traveling exhibits. USSRC is also a showcase for national defense technologies developed at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal. To learn more about the programs and activities at the USSRC, go online to www.rocketcenter.com. 

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