"TO SPACE AND BEYOND"
Visit to U.S. SPACE AND ROCKET CENTER
U.S. SPACE AND ROCKET CENTER- the place to have fun and learn in ways so interesting that you’ll never forget what you’ve learnt. It is a temple of knowledge about space and its history. Thanks to our respected Principal, Mr. Michael Guzder and the tireless efforts of our teachers, we the students of The Millennium School were fortunate enough to go on and thoroughly enjoy this trip. We were a total of 82 students who went on this fabulous, once in lifetime trip, with a total of 7 wonderful, fun-loving teachers. Mr. Virdi, Mr. K.K.Murthy, Mr. Anthony Koshy, Mr. Sreekumar, Mrs. Shyama Dore’, Mrs. Vinita Gupta and Mrs. Gloria Go were the teachers who accompanied us on the trip.
On the 28th of October at 4:30 am Terminal 1 of Dubai Airport buzzed with the noise of children and their excitement! We were all set and ready to depart on a 7 hour long journey with KLM to Atlanta via Amsterdam. We had a one and a half hour stop over at Amsterdam which went by so quick that we didn’t realize it until we were all seated in the plane. When we reached Atlanta Airport, everyone was tired and sleepy after almost 14 hours of travelling; the jet lag had gotten to us all.
We went by coach to the world’s biggest drive-in restaurant, the Varsity at Atlanta. After our dinner, we headed towards our hotel, the Holiday Inn. It was very cozy and comfortable.
The next day, after breakfast, we headed to the Georgia Aquarium where we witnessed an amazing 4-D show about the problems associated with marine pollution. It was pretty good learning experience for all of us. At the aquarium, we saw uncountable species of aquamarine life like- the jelly fish, catfish, electric eels, penguin, white crocodiles, endangered elephant dugongs, seals, stingrays and many other varieties.
After having a fabulous time, all of us got really hyped up as we were going to the first ever HARD ROCK CAFÉ opened in the world, located in Atlanta for dinner. The café had so much to offer. There were artifacts of some of the greatest legends of pop, rock and folk songs. There was a jacket of ELVIS PRESLEY, one of MICHAEL JACKSON and many other legends. The staff of the café came and danced and requested everyone to join in, whenever a very famous old song would come up.
The next morning, our teachers surprised us by taking us to the WORLD OF COCA-COLA. At the factory, we witnessed the past, present and the future of Coca-Cola. We learnt about the way it is produced and many facts about it. The Coca-Cola industry was started more than a century ago. We were taken to a room with the main artifact of the Coca-Cola industry which was a painting created in the 19th century with an estimated Price of $ 750,000! There were posters of promotional campaigns for Coco-Cola from different parts of the world; from Colombia, U.S.A, India, Pakistan, Germany, France, China, etc. We witnessed how Coco-Cola was first made, how the bottles and cans are filled and packages and how the tongue-prickling taste is created. There were rooms of old artifacts, a 4-D theatre and a HUGE room of dispensers for all the coca-cola products ever created. There were drinks of all sorts from sour to sweet to just right, all for us to taste for free. At the exit of the factory, we bought a lot of souvenirs.
After the exciting visit to the Coco-Cola factory we were raring to go to SIX FLAGS OVER GEORGIA! It’s an amusement park with roller coasters and many, many lung-screaming rides. The park was jam packed, since it was the day before Halloween. There were people in really scary costumes trying sneak up on people and scare them. It was an exciting fun- filled day that we thoroughly enjoyed. After dinner at Six Flags, we headed back to the hotel, packed our suitcases and slept early as we were to leave for the Space Camp, the next day.
The journey to Space Camp was pretty long, more than 3 hours, but we didn’t feel bored as the scenery of the country side was exciting for all of us to see. On the way, we had a quick lunch at McDonald’s. Finally we were there! Our hearts were pounding with excitement and enthusiasm, just admiring and looking around the place. The living areas were divided into buildings called HABITATS, which served various purposes. We were put up in HABITAT 1. On reaching Habitat 1, we were given an introduction and a briefing on the Space Camp. After the introduction, we settled into our rooms and headed for orientation. At the orientation, they divided us into teams and explained to us the rules and regulations of the camp. There was no bullying permitted and no girl-boy interactions. If there were any medical emergencies we were to inform the group leader or the medical counselor at the ground floor.
We were then divided into various teams; some of the teams were VON TIESENHAUSEN, HOLDERS, CALYPSO, etc. All the teams had two group leaders, one in the daytime and the other at night. These group leaders were amazing mentors, friends, really understanding, helpful and funny. They supported and helped us at every step.
Every day after breakfast we had many briefings about different sections of space and rocket science. We had briefings about ablative shielding, capsule building, and parts of a rocket, bridge building, space history, aero designing and many more than this. After each briefing we had an activity on it which we would be graded on and given points. All the points we got were totaled up before the graduation ceremony and the winners were chosen. My team won the Engineering Challenge. Also every day we had missions like proper astronaut training for space, in which we were assigned different positions every time. There were 4 missions in all like delta missions, bravo missions, alpha missions, etc. I was commander in the first mission, flight director in the second, mission scientist in the third and the pilot in the fourth. Each position had its own importance and the mission would not work or be successful without any one. The commander had the responsibility to take off and land the space shuttle. The flight director was the boss of everything and also responsible for it. The pilot was the right hand of the commander and the mission scientist was like the medic in emergencies and the solution finder during problems in the space shuttle.
Some of us had aero designing in which you had to make a plane out of a straw and some paper using duct tape and scissors while others had diving and an activity related to it. The people who didn’t go diving could do the aviation challenge in which we sat in a compartment-like model of an actual jet war plane and learned how to land it and take off. The centrifuge simulator made you feel the 3G force that astronauts actually feel while going up in space.
On the day before this we had our group photo taken in our blue colored flight suits which looked really very smart and good, in front of an actual space shuttle kept there for show. Also on different days we would go to AREA 51 which was a physical training area with obstacle courses and rock climbing, zip lining, pole climbing and jumping, etc. It was not an area about aliens or UFOs as we first thought!
There were visits to the IMAX theatre, where we saw the movie “HUBBLE”, which was a documentary on the expedition on saving THE “HUBBLE TELESCOPE”. We also went to the DAVIDSON CENTER MUSEUM which had different exhibits on space shuttles. THE CAPSULE OF APOLLO 16 which went to the moon was also present.
And before we knew it, it was time for the graduation ceremony, when we become astronaut graduates.
After the ceremony we clicked pictures with our leaders and bid them goodbye. Nobody wanted to leave and everyone was feeling sad and down. We will always remember and treasure these golden memories. Our drive to the airport was spent in contemplation, thinking over all that we had learned and experienced.
I would personally like to thank everyone who made this trip possible, so much fun, exciting and unforgettable for me and everybody else!