Purchase photos

Hays student completes NASA-based program


Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

HUTCHINSON -- Sara Rohleder of Hays, daughter of Cari and Scott Rohleder, attended the Camp KAOS Space 201 program July 20 to 25 at the Cosmosphere. Rohleder will be entering ninth grade at Hays High School this fall.

Space 201 is a six-day astronaut training camp for students entering at least grade eight and emphasizes teamwork, leadership and problem solving. Developed by Cosmosphere staff, Camp KAOS science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)-based programs are nationally recognized for motivating students to seek careers in aerospace-related industries.

The fast-paced 201 program incorporates aspects of astronaut training with advanced courses in space shuttle systems, space science, physiology and microgravity science. The camp's capstone is an advanced simulated space shuttle mission in the Cosmosphere's Falcon III, the most realistic shuttle simulator outside of NASA. During this mission, campers capture and repair the Hubble Space Telescope using the Remote Manipulator System and Extra Vehicular Activity. To prepare for this advanced mission, participants undergo a full day of SCUBA training and other underwater exercises. Space 201 campers also experience high and low ropes course training, including conquering a 30-foot climbing wall and zipline, and learning night sky observation techniques using high-powered telescopes.

The Cosmosphere offers camp programs for students as young as those entering second grade, and on through high school. Camps are available for adults, including the Intergenerational Camp Experience for adults and their children or grandchildren. Additional camp experiences are offered for groups, and schools can custom-design curriculum based on state education standards. The Cosmosphere also has programs designed specifically for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Webelos and the American Heritage Girls.

The Cosmosphere's Camp KAOS program features five progressive levels for students entering seventh grade. Campers begin with Space 101 and 201, which are held at the Cosmosphere and visit other nearby facilities. They move on to Space 301, which includes a trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA's astronaut training facilities. Those who progress to Space 401 travel to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where campers experience NASA launch facilities. The most advanced campers in Space 501 focus on emerging space technology facilities in California.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Cosmosphere houses the largest collection of U.S. space artifacts outside the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. It also houses the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. The Carey Digital Dome Theater proudly supports education. The Cosmosphere's education department provides field trips, assemblies, and the internationally acclaimed Camp KAOS summer space adventures, which utilize STEM principles to inspire explorers of all ages and build leadership and teamwork skills. Information about Camp KAOS can be found at www.cosmospherecamps.org. For more information about the Cosmosphere and the Carey Digital Dome Theater, visit www.cosmo.org.