U’hage learner attends US space camp

2017-04-06 06:02
=Matthew Arnolds from Uitenhage was the only South African invited to the Space Camp leadership challenge which was held at the United States Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama.                                 Photo:REENA ROSE SIBAYAN

=Matthew Arnolds from Uitenhage was the only South African invited to the Space Camp leadership challenge which was held at the United States Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Photo:REENA ROSE SIBAYAN

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Students from around the world were granted a unique opportunity to train like an astronaut at the United States Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Matthew Arnolds from Uitenhage was the only South African invited to this Space Camp leadership challenge.

“The experiences and memories will remain with me as long as I live,” said Matthew Arnolds, a Grade 12 learner at Muir College in Uitenhage.

He was the only South African out of 320 students from 45 countries that attended Space Camp. The Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy aims to encourage excitement and engagement around science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects for students between the ages of 16-18. The program is packed with hands-on activities such as building and testing rockets, simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and a moon walk.

“One of our activities includes the designing of a rocket that would have a fragile payload, a Raspberry Pi (a tiny computer). The Raspberry Pi calculated the rocket’s velocity, accelerating and trajectory. The challenge was to code the chip.

“We also went to fly flight simulators which are exactly the same as a normal fighter jet. With so many buttons it was a difficult task to complete,” said Arnolds.

His best activity was the shuttle mission. “I was the pilot of the shuttle, in charge of taking the crew to space and back. There were a lot of problems on the way and we had to solve them all.”

They also had to climb a 50m wall. The challenge was to climb while the rest of your team holds your harness.

“If they had let go, it would have been a bad day!”

According to Dr Deborah Barnhart, CEO and executive director, USSRC, the act of bringing this global Honeywell community together with Space Camp allows these students to plan for a future of improving life on our planet and beyond.

“They bring the best of their diverse cultures to Space Camp, where they use teamwork and technology to prepare them for a future they have yet to imagine.”

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