Saturday, June 23, 2012


This was a pretty cool experience. I had no expectations besides this should be an amazing experience (I gave up two days of our beloved family beech trip). Although my expectations were limited to the grandeur of the experience, I did find that I had some preconceived notions. This is a collection of folks from all over the globe. I have met a young Lady from Australia and a young woman from Japan (originally from the UK). Two of my roommates (shown getting on the bus that takes us from our dorm to the space center) are from Nigeria. Below is the building that we were walking into from that first bus trip, followed by a pic of our orientation.

Of course this is orientation at the space center. The following image I found pretty funny.

After orientation was a presentation by "Hoot" Gibson." he is one of the rock stars of the space industry. Hoot went to Top Gun school (finished first in his class), was a fighter pilot in Nam, became an astronaut, and flew missions in the space shuttle program. He is now semiretired but enjoys piloting plane races in Vegas (yes those low flying adventures that sweep around pylons). When the staff talks about him they gush. He is a real celebrity and it is obvious why. Everyone here lives and breathes space and flight. Hoot is everything most everyone here would like to be!

below is me with my "crew" posing in front of an exact replica (at least in dimensions) of the space shuttle. We are team Kimbo! It is amazing the size of the thing. The shuttle itself can house 1 and 1/2 greyhound buses. The immense fuel tank is even is simply immense! The amount of fuel needed to take such a heavy payload past our atmosphere is hard to imagine even when looking at the massive fuel tank.

Below is a picture of me in mission control. I am the Flight Director of the Orion Mission. Unfortunately I just sit in our moon base while other astronauts are fling the lander, doing missions, climbing on a structure to repair solar panels etc. I get to sit and monitor everything trying to keep everyone closely connected the the mission timeline. Anyone who knows me knows this type of organizational detail-oriented thinking is not my srong-suit. A word to future space campers who would rather do something more active or exciting on their missions. Don't write on your survey that you enjoy leadership roles. I wrote that hoping it would improve my chances of landing one of the more exciting roles (I think it backfired).

Pictured below is me "pretending to pilot the Orion mission. That pic is followed by a series of pics showing the mission simulation area. it is very cool.

Below is me standing next to a very famous supersonic jet (I think it was called the SR71 Blackbird). I had a model of this when I was in the fifth grade. This is really quite a complex with a museum, training facilities, and camp facilities. There is even a way cool mammoth exhibit. Space and mammoth bones! What else could you want? If we could get more kids on this trip, with good follow-up experiences at school, I'll bet we close the technology and math gap we now have with other countries. Personally (and I am as guilty of this as everyone) it is my impression that we have vaulted sports up onto a pedestal it was never meant to be. Including how sports is approached by families. But that is a topic for another blog entry. Last but not least,  is a picture of my jumpsuit. Notice my jumpsuit is in a horizontal position, a position I need to get myself into very soon. We get blue jumpsuits and red backpacks...yippee!