Two Marion County youth recently graduated from separate programs at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson.
Matthew Denholm, Hillsboro, graduated June 15 from Space 201 of the Kansas Adventures in Outer Space (KAOS). Matthew, son of Rob and Sharon Denholm, will be a freshman at Hillsboro High School this fall.
Cade Harms, Marion, son of Mark and Kim Harms, graduated from Space 101 June 23. Cade will be entering eighth grade at Marion Middle School this fall.
Denholm’s experience in Space 201 involved a six-day astronaut training camp for students entering at least eighth grade. It emphasized teamwork, leadership and problem-solving.
The fast-paced camp program incorporated aspects of astronaut training with advanced courses in space shuttle systems, space science, physiology and microgravity science.
The camp’s capstone was an advanced simulated space shuttle mission in the Cosmosphere’s Falcon III, the most realistic space shuttle simulator outside of NASA.
During this mission campers captured and repaired the Hubble Space Telescope using the Remote Manipulator System and Extra Vehicular Activity.
To prepare for this advanced mission, participants underwent a full day of scuba training and underwater exercises. Space 201 campers also received high and low ropes course training, including a 30-foot climbing wall and zipline, and learned night sky observation techniques using high power telescopes.
Harms’s experience in Space 101 was a four-day training camp for students entering grades seven and eight.
Participants constructed and launched rockets, attended interactive briefings with Cosmosphere space science educators, toured the world-renowned Hall of Space Museum, and trained on Cosmosphere spaceflight simulators.
The week culminated with a mission in the Cosmosphere’s Falcon III.
Cosmosphere spaceflight simulators challenged campers. The centrifuge is a rotating device that tested people’s reactions to forces encountered during launch and reentry; the multi-axis trainer spun riders 360 degrees in multiple axes while simulating tumble-type maneuvers that could be encountered in spaceflight; the stress simulator incorporated external stimuli into a mission to replicate stressful situations encountered in spaceflight.
The Falcon III simulated launch, orbit, satellite deployment, reentry and landing.
The Cosmosphere offers camp programs for students as young as those going into second grade, and on through high school age.
Camps are available for adults, including the Intergenerational Camp Experience for grandparents and grandchildren.
Camp experiences are also offered for groups, including schools that can custom design curriculum based on state education standards. The Cosmosphere also has programs designed specifically for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Webelos.
The Cosmosphere’s Camp KAOS features five levels starting for students entering grade seven. Space 101 and 201 are held at the Cosmosphere and nearby areas; Space 301 includes a trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s astronaut training facilities; Space 401 is held at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to experience NASA launch facilities; and Space 501 focuses on emerging space technology facilities in California.