Why Space Camp?

>> 4.26.2011

So I got to go to camp several times while growing up, but I never did attend Space Camp. When you're one of three kids in a Midwestern family in the mid-1980s, as the country is recovering from a recession, you can't just pack your bags for Alabama and start driving south.

I don't remember how I first heard of Space Camp in those pre-website days, but my knowledge of its existence definitely predated the movie of the same name. (Note: As a former junior camp counselor, I can safely say I never launched, nor contemplated launching, my charges into space.)

Why would I have any interest in space or NASA? The first shuttle launch occurred when I was first starting to pay attention to world news. Just weeks prior to the launch of Columbia, I remember sitting by the television after school, taking notes about the shooting of President Reagan.

I was born after those milestone events of Kennedy being assassinated and man's first steps on the moon, but I remember where I was when Reagan was shot and when Challenger exploded. (I wrote in my journal about that event too, when I couldn't get my arms around the scope of that tragedy.) I even remember worrying about where Skylab would crash to earth in 1979.

No, I never really wanted to be an astronaut. There, I've said it. But I've always taken an interest in a wide range of subjects, especially transportation-related. I was raised to appreciate several forms of "transportation," as my father has written about auto racing and photographed trains from his childhood on. Now, as part of a family of non-pilot EAA members, I can discuss, admire, and appreciate what I see at Airventure each year, though I can't control an aircraft.

So I don't want to actually fly, but I do want the Space Camp experience. Huntsville, here I come!


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