The U.S. Space & Rocket Center

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, located in Hunstville, Alabama, is home to Space Camp and Aviation Challenge, the Apollo 16 capsule, the National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket and world-class traveling exhibits. Courtesy photo

Carys Stringer has a passion for space exploration.

The Owasso resident recently attended Advanced Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is home to Space Camp and Aviation Challenge, the Apollo 16 capsule, the National Historic Landmark Saturn V rocket and world-class traveling exhibits.

The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

Stringer spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Moon or Mars. The crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity (EVA), or spacewalk. Stringer and her crew returned to “earth” in time to graduate with honors.

Space Camp operates year-round and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.

More than 850,000 trainees have graduated from a Space Camp program since its inception in Huntsville in 1982, including European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronauts Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Kate Rubins, Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Christina Koch, who is serving onboard the ISS.