Teens from Ōtara are 'go for launch' for unforgettable NASA Space Camp journey

Publish Date : 31 Aug 2023
OP Nasa Main
Image sourced from The Ōtara Youth Drop in Hub

Sixteen rangatahi have launched their scientific knowledge on a global scale after taking part in a NASA Space Camp, thanks to funding from the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board.

The board provided $15,576 in funding through the board's Excellence Award, which seeks to help locals or organisations showcase their excellent accomplishments in their chosen fields to help pay for 11 of the flights to Alabama in the southern United States, where the camp is held between 27 August - 1 September.

Activities during the camp include training like an astronaut on the 1/6th Gravity Chair and the Multi-Axis Trainer, experiencing neutral buoyancy, building a Rover and heat shield, flying jet aircraft simulators, and discovering the role the International Space Station plays in our global community. The rangatahi also designed, built and launched a team rocket.

Local board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia is pleased to support the area’s next generation of leaders.

“One of the key areas of this board’s focus is our people including our rangatahi. We are thrilled for them to have the opportunity to be a part of something as big as the NASA Space camp.
“Most of these youth are of Polynesian backgrounds. We have a heritage of exploration, pushing the boundaries into the unknown - we used the stars for wayfinding across the largest ocean in the world. We hope this trip will reignite their voyaging genes, whatever career they choose to pursue”, says Apulu.
Apulu adds, “In addition to funding flights to America, the greater benefit is being able to assist our rangatahi in their active learning, exploring their future career paths not just here in Aotearoa but also overseas where they get to experience culture, new learning and teaching methods, and be exposed to the best of the best programmes in the world."

The NASA Space camp is delivered by the Advanced Space Academy, explores college and career preparation through an immersive experience in science, engineering, technology, and math.

The trip was organised by the Community Builders Trust – a charitable trust with a particular focus on South Auckland, the Far North and Waikato region, applicants were selected based on their ability to build their capacity in serving the community.

(Image sourced U.S Space & Rocket Center website)

(Image sourced U.S Space & Rocket Center website)

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