Two Newton students completed astronaut training programs at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.


Two Newton students completed astronaut training programs at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Kyle Stephens and Darian Gonzalez each completed training this summer.

Stephens, son of Gary and Julie Stephens, graduated from level 1 of the Future Astronaut Training Program.

Gonzalez, daughter of Anthony and Malea Gonzalez, graduated from level 1 of the Future Astronaut Training Program this summer at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

The week-long introductory astronaut camp is for students entering grades seven through 10 and emphasizes teamwork, leadership and problem solving. Developed by Cosmosphere staff, FATP is a nationally recognized camp that motivates campers to seek careers in space-related industries.

Throughout the week, campers train in space simulators — the centrifuge, multi-axis trainer, space shuttle simulator (“Falcon III”) and stress simulator — and practice spacewalk rescues, launch homemade rockets, direct a robotic mission and learn night sky observation techniques.

FATP participants also tour the Cosmosphere’s world-renowned Hall of Space Museum and watch shows in the Justice Planetarium and Carey IMAX Dome Theater.

The centrifuge is a rotating devise that tests people’s reactions to forces encountered during launch and reentry; the multi-axis trainer spins riders 360 degrees in multiple axes while simulating tumble-type maneuvers that could be encountered in spaceflight; the space shuttle simulator is the most realistic shuttle simulator outside of NASA, simulating launch, orbit, satellite deployment, re-entry and landing; and the stress simulator incorporates external stimuli into a mission to replicate stressful situations encountered in spaceflight.

The Cosmosphere is at 1100 N. Plum, Hutchinson. For more information about FATP, call the education coordinator at (800) 397-0330, ext. 323, or visit the Cosmosphere Web site at www.cosmo.org.