In Trinity news, in the school holidays, 15 boys from Years 8 and 9, and two teachers set off from Sydney Airport for the United States Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama. In Huntsville, the group took part in astronaut training, simulated missions and learnt about the history of space flight. In Huntsville they have many artefacts including a full-size Saturn V rocket, the Apollo 16 Command Capsule, a moon rock from the Apollo 12 mission and a full-size space shuttle mock-up. Most, if not all, of the boys attending agreed that the most enjoyable part of the week at Huntsville was the simulated missions.
There were two missions. In these missions we played the same roles as those of real astronauts and the boys learnt about the difficulties of working at NASA. In addition, we also did astronaut training by being placed in a device that simulates the gravity on the moon. As well, we had the opportunity to hear from a real-life astronaut. This talk showed us the importance of never giving up in life and the importance of doing what you enjoy.
Our second week of the expedition was held in Houston, Texas. After an opening ceremony in Houston we went to Rice University. At Rice we learnt about the amazing experiences and education you can get from studying overseas. We also went to the Johnson Space Centre where we saw the mission control centre that was used in historic missions. This mission control was used from the first space missions all the way through to the space shuttle missions. Moments such as the moon landing were controlled from this centre.
We had an opportunity to hear from and meet with Nicole Stott – formerly an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She served as a Flight Engineer on ISS Expedition 20 and Expedition 21 and was a Mission Specialist on STS-128 and STS-133.
Later, at a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science we learnt much about the biology of sharks through a shark dissection. The next day we learnt about energy at the Wiess Energy Hall. After a trip to the Houston Health Museum where they have a one-of-a-kind and state-of-the-art ‘cell lab,’ we went to a Major League Baseball game and saw the Houston Astros narrowly win a game against Oakland Athletics.
After a great trip we departed for home. We all learnt so much about space, the future the world around us holds, and American culture.
By Year 9 students, William Lenard and Ryan Snowsill