FDO is go…

This morning began at 6 am when Claudia woke me up because she couldn’t find Stuffy (her teddy bear). We are both sleeping on top bunks and she was certain he fell down. So I shown my phone light down and looked around with half open eyes. We though we spotted him below so she decided to climb down and retrieve him. I laid back and tried to pretend I was still sleeping. But momentarily I heard “mom” whispered in my direction. “That wasn’t Stuffy. It was Madeline’s shoes.” I sat up and started feeling around her bunk – I could reach it from mine – and located Stuffy. I laid back in my bed again just to hear “mom” again. “Is it morning?” And as we all know when a child asks this question it might as well be, as you certainly won’t be getting any more sleep.

We all met at 7:30 am for team breakfast. Honestly, I could have done with no breakfast and good strong coffee. But most people seem to like giant breakfasts with rather questionable coffee. Oh well. I drank 2 cups of steaming hot brown water and hoped for a miracle. Just as I was finishing my drink we were led off to a bus which would take us to launch the rockets we built yesterday. They were supposed to launch straight up, deploy a parachute and float to the ground. Most did. Some landed in the road and were smushed. Some lodged in nearby trees. Others didn’t launch at all. And when young kids are involved in this the reactions go everywhere: excited, sobbing, blank, squeaking and my personal favorite “that wasn’t my rocket, I was just launching it for my dad”.

As soon as we got back it was off to flight command training. I was chosen to be the Flight Dynamics Officer (FDO), which means I watched and reported back to the Flight Commander on the engines. My husband snapped a picture of us hard at work, practicing to retrieve a team of payload specialists from the ISS and bring them back to earth.

FDO: We are T-Minus four minutes and counting from beginning final launch preparations. Swing arm is retracting. <– Just one of my lines because I sound so knowledgeable & important. 🤪

Next up was our turn on the multi axis trainer (MAT). All the kiddos got to go first and the adults would only get a turn if there was time. Brian was so sad he might not be able to try it since this whole camp had been his dream since he was six! I told him he would get a turn, we’d make it happen. Which of course I did and he was the first adult to get a turn. He was SO happy and fun to watch. I took so many pictures but here are a few.

Afterwards we actually needed to perform our mission. Like yesterday you practice the mission for an hour before you actually attempt to complete it. It went really well, which was GOOD, because our three girls were the payload specialists we were retrieving from the ISS. “Welcome home girls.”

Next up lunch. Seriously I was staring at every meal. We were running like crazy this whole camp trying to fit in more and more. We ate who knows what, I honestly can’t remember, but it gave us energy to move on to (drum roll). Family free time! Madeline and mom went back to the habitat (again) to take a nap. I wanted to, but went adventuring with Brian, Beatrice and Claudia. There is so much to see (and take goofy pictures on)!

We met back up at 4:15 pm to try our hand at space walking. The hooked us up to a weighted chair on a spring and we had to try and get across a test area. It was hard but not impossible. Super bouncy with lots of hang time. I just kept pretending to be tinker bell.

Dinner was up next and I thought I was starving but then when I went to eat I wasn’t actually. I just ate my salad. I think my tummy actually wasn’t super fond of bouncing. Oh well, it’s not like I can’t stand to miss a meal! Afterwards Madeline and grandma went back to the room again. I honestly don’t blame them. We’re ALL so tired. But there were two more things on the schedule.

First we learned more about the ISS or International Space Center and that their mission control was actually located here in Huntsville, Alabama. We also got to walk through a life size replica of the shuttle and flip switches. Kids love flipping switches. Second we had a presentation on astronomy from a guy I’m certain is Johnny Depp (when he was 20) back in time. His wacky mannerisms were straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean. We built telescopes and took them outside. But by this time it was 9 pm and I was beyond so ready for bed. So we all said goodnight and headed to bed.

It is now 10:15 pm and I am beyond sleepy but we are all tucked in. Goodnight and sweet dreams! Hope you’re enjoying reading along on our summer travels.

Spoiler Alert: Tomorrow we graduate Family Space Camp and fly to Chicago!

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