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Valencia student completes Cosmosphere astronaut training program

Posted: August 9, 2010 12:40 p.m.
Updated: August 9, 2010 1:39 p.m.

Jasper Byrd, a local student and resident of Valencia, graduated from Level 1 of the Future Astronaut Training Program at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center on July 15.

HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- Jasper Byrd of Valencia, son of Brett and LeiAn Byrd, graduated from Level 1 of the Future Astronaut Training Program (FATP) July 15 at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Jasper will be in grade 7 at Albert Einstein Academy this fall. His brother is Graham Byrd of Valencia.

The four-day, introductory astronaut camp is for students entering grades 6-8 and emphasizes teamwork, leadership and problem solving. Developed by Cosmosphere staff, FATP is a nationally recognized camp that motivates campers to seek careers in aerospace-related industries.

Throughout the week, campers train in space simulators such as the centrifuge, multi-axis trainer and stress simulator. They launch homemade rockets and design and direct a robotic mission.

The week culminates with a mission in the Cosmosphere's Falcon III, the most realistic shuttle simulator outside of NASA, and the monitoring of another team's mission in the mission control center.

They also tour the Cosmosphere's world-renowned Hall of Space Museum and watch a live presentation of Dr. Goddard's Lab.

The Cosmosphere offers camp programs for students as young as those going into second grade, and on through high school age. Camps are available for adults, including some for intergenerational learning that grandparents or parents as young as 40 can attend with their children or grandchildren.

Camp experiences are also offered for groups, including schools who want a program designed just for them, and corporate team building. The Cosmosphere also has programs designed specifically for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Webelos.

The Cosmosphere's Future Astronaut Training Program (FATP) has five levels. Levels 1 and 2 are held at the Cosmosphere; Level 3 is held at the Cosmosphere for two days and then at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for two days; and Level 4 is held at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for all five days.

X-treme is 12 days, split between the Cosmosphere and Beaver Lake in Arkansas, where they earn SCUBA certification.

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future of Space Exploration.

Educating people from around the globe, the Cosmosphere boasts the Hall of Space museum, one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world; the Justice Planetarium, a dome-shaped classroom where attendants learn about astronomy; Dr. Goddard's Lab, a live demonstration of early rocket technology; the Carey IMAX(r) Dome Theater, one of the first ones built in the world; and a multitude of special events and programs.


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