Benda graduates from astronaut training program


Lonnie Benda, in astronaut gear, attended FATP this summer. Click image to enlarge

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center graduated Lonnie Benda, son of Karen Benda, from Level 2 of its Future Astronaut Training Program this summer.

The camp builds on knowledge gained from FATP Level 1, also at the Cosmosphere.


The week-long astronaut camp is for students entering grades 7-10 and emphasizes teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

Developed by Cosmosphere staff, FATP is a nationally-recognized camp that motivates campers to seek careers in space-related industries.

FATP Level 2 incorporates aspects of astronaut training with advanced courses in space shuttle systems, earth observation, and microgravity science.

The camp capstone is a two-hour simulated space shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

FATP Level 2 participants receive advanced aviation training in F-101 and F-16 cockpits, build and launch large model rockets, undergo a full day of scuba training and underwater exercises and construct complex robots for a simulated Mars mission.

Campers also receive high and low ropes training, including a 30-foot climbing wall and zipline and visit the Cosmo?sphere?s Hall of Space Museum, which houses one of the world?s largest space artifact collections.

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