Kids Flying High in Space Camp

Jun. 19, 2008

By Jason Dennis - bio | email

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - CSU may have some future astronauts, from summer camps at its Coca-Cola Space Science Center in downtown Columbus.

A group of kids, ages five to seven, are learning about space shuttles like Discovery that just landed from its latest mission. They also showed us how to shoot a rocket, after the whole group together chanted "5,4,3,2,1...Blastoff!"

"That was awesome, it went up so far in the sky," space camper Michael Knape said.

5-year-old Julian Mosley added, "We've been making rockets on the inside (of the space science center)."

They're building those rockets, learning about them, then launching them into the sky with the push of a button. You might call these children "comet jumpers" - the name of their space camp at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center in Columbus.

"We want to develop a strong knowledge of the space sciences in a very young age because you never know, we might have a future astronaut in this camp, a future pilot," space science center summer camps director Michael Seckinger said.

They'd be following in the footsteps of astronauts with NASA, which was just given the green light for one more mission before the spacecraft program shuts down.

One person who probably won't be on a shuttle in the future is 7-year-old camper Aaliyah Dixon, who got some laughs when when asked her about being an astronaut and she quickly said No.

The camp has peeked 7-year-old Nicole Waugh's interest in space, as she looks up for her rocket, the only one that ended up in a tree. She got a replacement though.

When they move inside, these campers do space arts and crafts, learn about astronauts, and watch movies about comets.

Proudly telling us what he learned about comets, Knape said, "They're made out of ice, rock, and dust."

"They do various activities like design aliens, explore the planets," Seckinger said.

There are space camps in downtown Columbus all summer, and they fill up fast.  The one next week is for 3rd and 4th graders.

This Saturday, the Coca-Cola Space Science center will also celebrate its 12th anniversary and 50 years of NASA, with a full day of free activities, including a visit from a former astronaut.