By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — A local boy recently attended Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
Tristan Nelson, 12, participated in the weeklong camp at the home of Space Camp, Space Camp Robotics, Aviation Challenge, U.S. Cyber Camp and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center.
The Hewitt-Trussville Middle School student spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the moon or Mars. He also participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk. Tristan and the rest of his crew returned to Earth just in time to graduate with honors.
Space Camp promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem-solving. The program operates year-round in Huntsville, Alabama, and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees 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 850,000 trainees have graduated from a Space Camp program since its inception in Huntsville, Alabama, 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 SpaceStation. Children and teachers from all 50 states and almost 150 international locations have attended a Space Camp program.