I couldn’t convince my fellow Space Campers to join me to see the total lunar eclipse in 2007. After a day of intense training at the Huntsville center, I got my butt out of bed around 3:00 to observe the Moon move thru the umbra of the Earth’s shadow.
My second day at Space Camp I met Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, one of the team members who had worked on the German V2 rocket with von Braun. Von T, as he was known, was not one of the first 120 Germans who came to Huntsville in 1950. He arrive in the second wave of “Operation Paperclip” scientists in 1953.
I had spent a good part of the morning studying the job checklist for Flight Engineer Then we learned about the environmental systems aboard the International Space Station.
After lunch we got a quick but intense history of rocketry and space exploration. I skipped the “Introduction to SCUBA” on tmy calendar for that evening and instead worked-up a draft of a data sheet for our coming Alpha Mission.
It was a rough evening at the shuttle simulator. After dinner I used the simulator to practice the procedure for landing the Space Shuttle. I “planted the nose” several times coming in for a landing. That means I was hitting the ground before getting to the runway. This failure would immediately bring on an intense review of the instruments in the craft and my use of them, hoping I would be more successful the next attempt.
Here’s an excerpt from my journal:
2007 August 27
I went back to the computer sim of landing the shuttle. I “planted” it a couple times, once I rolled 360° and still landed successfully. Then it clicked and landing was easy at KSC. I then landed at KSC at night, Edwards Air Force Base and in West Africa.
The Moon is full, but the cloud cover is 100%. I’m going to go to bed early (pre-10 pm) and try my best to get up at 3 to see a clear sky. We’ll see!
I finally got successful in the simulator, making the front landing wheels touch the landing runway. That cleared the way for late night extra curricular activity. To bed early, then up in the dark.
Indeed, at 3:00 am I found the sky had cleared and I walked out to the Rocket Garden to get a good picture.
Space Camp was much more fun than a stick in the eye. We practiced in zero-g, dealt with simulated emergencies aboard the shuttle and on the ground, and renewed our appreciation for the space program and the brave people who lead us into the future. If you haven’t been to Space Camp. I highly recommend the experience.