IMAGINE being 15 years old and hoping to become an astronaut when you grow up, only to be gifted the trip of a lifetime to the USA to attend a 10-day space camp at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Facility?
This was exactly what happened to Hobartville’s Lachlan Kalie, a student at Richmond High School who has just returned from Space Camp in California, thanks to a $6800 grant from Windsor RSL.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Lachlan, thanking Windsor RSL for making it happen.
Lachlan was one of 15 Hawkesbury students who attended, along with seven students and a teacher from each of Windsor High and Hawkesbury High schools.
They enjoyed many ‘out of this world’ experiences including simulating the sensations of space flight spinning in a centrifuge and leaping around on a one-sixth gravity chair.
They also designed, built and launched their own rockets and acted-out roles involved in space missions.
Lachlan said he enjoyed the space simulations best, including being part of the flight crew and in the ground control team.
“I want to be an astronaut or an aeronautical engineer [when I get older],” said Lachlan. “They had a full-scale real life-size Saturn rocket there, of the one they used to take a man to the moon.”
One Giant Leap Foundation organises the trip, taking a group of Hawkesbury students and others from around the state to Space Camp once a year in the October school holidays.
Lachlan encouraged any teenagers interested in the space industry to get on board next year’s journey.
“Don’t miss the opportunity. It really is a once in a lifetime trip. Just give it a shot,” he said, adding that he hopes he gets the chance to go back to Space Camp some day.
John Bonus, parent of Year 8 student, Sam from Hawkesbury High, was one of a number of parents who also went along on the trip, and had their own Space Camp experience for adults.
He said it wasn’t only a valuable experience for the students - it was well-worth the trip for the parents, too.
“It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “I absolutely loved it. It was fairly gruelling, and a sensory overload, but it was awesome and I thoroughly recommend it to anybody.”
He said he valued the team challenges and the team building exercises, and he and his son haven’t stopped talking about the trip ever since they’ve been home.
“We’ll be talking about it for years to come,” he said. “There was no issues with anybody, we were all well-received, everybody jelled and it was just fantastic.”
He said some of his most unforgettable memories were rocket building, shuttle missions, scuba diving, rock wall climbing, and team challenges.
Find out more about Space Camp and register your interest for the 2019 trip at https://onegiantleapaustralia.com/space-camp/.