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Benjamin på European Space Camp 2016

Benjamin deltok på Space Camp på Andøya. Her er hans egne ord om oppholdet.

Benjamin Gordon On the day I arrived at Andenes, Team Space Campers were waiting to drive me and other participants to where we to be were staying. We had an evening getting introduced to each other, and a whole bunch of pizza, I don’t know if it was the pizza or the long day’s travel from Stavanger, but I proceeded to bed soon after. Sleeping was no problem even though the nights were noticeably lighter for longer, than in Stavanger.

The following day, we gathered at the Andøya Space Centre, which is about 1 Km outside of the town of Andenes, and greeted the remaining participants as they arrived. We played some games and other “ice-breaker” activities and were on our way to lunch, but at that point everyone evacuated the centre to watch as a rocket was launched from the firing range. We watched the launch from a distance and had the opening ceremony of European space camp 2016 there and then. What a perfect start for the Camp!

After the launch and opening ceremony we got back to lunch and then continued with more icebreakers before attending the first lecture. This was not so much a lecture as a personal narrative, given by Christer Fuglesang (a real live Swedish astronaut), recounting the events and impressions from his two trips to the International Space Station, including a space-walk.

The next day we were introduced to what our activities would be for the upcoming week and were told about on what launching the rocket entailed; collecting data, etc. We got to learn something about the northern lights and rocket technology, as well as packing in a tour of the LADAR facility atop the mountain next to Andøya Space Centre. It was quite a busy day but we also had the opportunity to take many pictures of the beautiful scenery and landscape around us.

The next day we started the day at the Space Centre, where we were split into several groups, each with differing tasks to do, and all of which needed to be done in order to prepare for our rocket launch. Our group had to build several smaller model rockets and we were to compete with another group’s rockets later. We had the task of interpreting some of the data received from the rocket during flight and were also tasked with performing several calculations based on “what if” scenarios. For example we calculated what strength of wind would have to blow to push the rocket into the hills and cliffs behind the rocket range. Later on we learnt about GPS technology and then put then technology to use in a treasure hunt. We rounded out the day with a crazy swim in the sea, north of the Arctic Circle.

Sunday started with a really fun and unique sea safari experience riding in RIBs and we were lucky enough to see several sperm whales in the ocean. Quite a special experience. Later on, back at the Space Centre it was back into the group work.

Monday we had quite a number of lectures on a number of topics ranging from the history of the space race, through current day technology and space related activity in Norway to speculation about a possible future on Mars. It was all fascinating stuff. The high point though was when we shot up the model rockets we had built, in competition with group A [we were group E]. We won.

The next day was occupied with final pre-flight preparations and presentation of the work groups. And then it was launch day, there was definitely a special atmosphere in the Space centre that day as we set to complete our launch day tasks. In the final countdown to launch the various stations gave the clearance for launch, I was on the science station. Zero hour came and went and the launch was a great success. I t was a great feeling to see the launch completed successfully after all the work everyone had put in to the mission. The next day was the final day of the camp, we had the closing ceremony and each group made a presentation based on what we had done together in our groups. All in all it had been a busy but successful week with a lot of information and activities getting pack into the 7 days, and of course a successful rocket launch. European Space Camp 2016 is a unique memory that I will have for the rest of my life.

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