Below is a Question and Answer E-mail Interview done with a SVA Cadet. The Cadet "Max S." used this information in a school project. I thought you'd enjoy reading it. My response to Question 4 talks about what I like about running Space Voyage summer camp.
1. What do you think is the most harsh condition in space?
Temperature changes. The changes in temperature seem to be a real challenge. In low earth orbit astronauts in EVA and the orbiter experience negative 250 degrees F, then when in the sun experience positive 250 degrees F. Consider that dry ice is about negative 112 degrees F and space is very cold. Imagine the types of materials needed to handle those dramatic changes-- hundreds (even thousands) of times in a single 14 day mission. The orbiter does a pancake flip to help control cabin temperature and EVA suits have more than 20 layers and a liquid cooling garment that nauts wear.
2. Which Apollo mission was the most important? Why?
Hard to say a single one. Apollo 1 was important because it demonstrated the need to be diligent in all aspects. Apollo 1 never flew; Three astronauts died in a simulation and perished when a spark from a faulty wire ignited materials in the 100% oxygen environment. Apollo 1 cemented the American value that life is important to Americans. Apollo 13 was important since it involved overcoming the odds and finding creative ways to solve life threatening events. American ingenuity, perseverance and teamwork were cemented into the space program as things to be valued. Those two were important but Apollo 11 was the most important. 10,000 people supported a space program (program Apollo) that promised to put a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth in less than 10 years. Apollo 11 energized all parts of American government, education, technology and science like never before or since. Apollo 11 cemented the notion that Americans can do anything and continues to this day of being probably the greatest achievement in the history of mankind.
3. What do you think is one of the most memorable space mission?
Besides Apollo 11, probably STS-51-L, the 25th shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Challenger. Most memorable since I was teaching Pre-IB science to sixth graders in Houston, Texas and refused to allow my students to watch the flight live on TV like the other 11 science teachers at Welch Middle School did. Challenger, carrying the first teacher in space, experienced catastrophic failure when a Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) failed about 73 seconds after liftoff. While NASA reported such a catastrophe would occur once in 100,000 flights, I felt with more than 200,000 parts from 5,000 vendors the chances were similar to winning a dollar in the Texas Lottery: 1 in 35. Prior to teaching in Houston, I completed a 2,000 hour American Psychological Association (APA) internship that involved counseling, assessment and crisis intervention. My experiences as a psych in post suicide interventions (about one a week in Houston schools), gave me insight into the possible 'psychic trauma' that my students would experience if they witnessed a shuttle blowing up. Unfortunately that's exactly what happened and many students were traumatized. Interesting, at the same time, me and about 14 of my students were designing a shuttle simulation that today is Space Voyage.
4. What is your favorite thing at camp Space Voyage?
I like the energy in the room, the willingness of staff to meet the needs of every student, and the way we see kids grow, persevere and figure things out. I like the overall environment and the ability to add, change and improve as I like. I like the way the camp uses technology to help learn, and I like the way the camp allows staff to teach students that technology is only a help and not the solution. I like to teach students to be leaders by using the Axioms and by example. I like the challenge of criticalities and I like to hear all the radio chatter that goes on behind the scenes that makes the camp so successful. I like the celebrations and seeing kids smile and be happy. I like inventing new activities and imagining what-else-we-could-do. I like to see the room fully engaged with every student being productive. I like that Space Voyage is a living museum with old, current and cutting edge technologies... and I like that the camp allows me to study emerging technologies. Most of all I like that Space Voyage invites ongoing studies where kids look forward to coming back, where they have fun and learn about what they might be (or not be) when they grow up. I enjoy getting the emails and letters from Air Force Academy and other college graduates thanking me for helping them and for creating Space Voyage for other kids to benefit from.
5. What do you think is the most important space discovery ever?
The most important discovery is the next one.