Huntsville, AL – I recently attended Advanced Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre, home of Space Camp®, Space Camp® Robotics™, Aviation Challenge®, U.S. Cyber Camp® and NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre’s Official Visitor Centre.

The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.   This program is specifically designed for trainees who have a passion for space exploration.       I spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon or Mars. The crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk. My crew and I returned to earth in time to graduate with honours.   Space Camp operates year-round in Huntsville, Alabama, and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.

 

Coincidentally I got the opportunity to watch a Falcon Heavy launch by SpaceX. Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.  The launch made me emotional because the sight was beautiful. I watched It with my mentor, Julia Bergeron, who I cannot thank enough for everything she has done during my stay at Florida. What a memorable experience!

 

Earlier this year when I received the news that I was awarded a full tuition leadership scholarship, I was tremendously excited and honoured that I was chosen out of 470 children all around the world. I was happy to be representing South Africa at such a stage!  To be honest though, within a few minutes I became worried and somewhat uncertain on how I will get to the US. I knew it was possible, but I didn’t know if I would be able to acquire the financial support. I started a fundraiser campaign and reached out to the community to crowdfund my tickets to the US.

 

 

To my surprise, within a matter of 2 weeks I was able to reach my goal of R28 000 which proved to me that no matter what I do, my family, friends and supporters always have my back 😊. The experiences that I got from Space Camp and my visit are truly priceless.

How did this all happen? It all happened because of your support. I want to thank everyone who supported me in embarking on this journey. I am truly grateful, and I will remember you throughout the adventures and journeys I commence ❤ Because of you, I was able to reach new heights. Because of you, I got a step closer to reaching my Mars.