My experience at NASA : NIMAL KURIEN THOMAS- 12th GRADE

The program started a couple years back, and I was one of the lucky few who got selected from India to go to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

This was a rigorous training procedure which tested our abilities and tried to inculcate leadership qualities in each of us .After being instructed about the simulators, we were to carry out the mission set to us through teamwork and coordinated skill. One example is a simulated mission in which we had to dock a space shuttle into the international space station .I played the role of the paycom, in which i was responsible for the communication between the international space station and mission control. It gave us a feeling of how precisely each team member has to coordinate for such missions to success .We were also o lucky enough to simulate an experience of flying F-14 Tomcats and completing missions set to us on a state of the art flight simulator.

We were also challenged with building a two stage rocket in which we had to program an accelerometer after a basic introduction to python. After building and programming the complete rocket , we launched it and using the accelerometer , we could determine the maximum velocity and altitude. The simulators present in that area also include the MAT, which simulated what an astronaut would feel during a tumble through space and a centrifuge to simulate our bodies to what a pilot would feel whilst flying a jet and putting our bodies through four times the gravitational force which normally acts on us.

We were also given talks by former naval officer and five time astronaut Robert Lee Gibson and other such significant figures. It was thrilling to hear first hand about the space race and how the astronauts shook hands at the end of the cold war. When I shook the hands of Robert Gibson, I could feel the history flowing from his hands.

The program also included various fun activities including physical challenges of climbing and jumping. Each day in the process led to some new, wonderful team building experience; thanks to Honeywell. This has been the most pleasantand exciting experience that I could have been given,getting a chance to meet other intellectually capable students and all around the globe and I hope to return as an ambassador. This enthusiasm will surely stay with me through everything I do in future.




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