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Charlotte summer camp teaching young girls about space exploration, STEAM careers following Blue Origin launch

Students learned about the Blue Origin rocket launch, rocket structure, engineering, and Mae Jemison - the first Black woman to travel into space.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte summer camp is teaching young girls space missions and STEAM careers.

Jill Garcia with Challenge Island summer camp is leading a five-day camp for young girls interested in STEAM careers and subjects.

On Tuesday, students learned about the Blue Origin rocket launch, rocket structure, engineering, and Mae Jemison - the first Black woman to travel into space.

“It really does explore and open their minds up to what’s possible for them that one day in the future they too could have the opportunity to travel to space. Not only as a passenger but we talked about thinking about the roles of the engineers that are behind the scenes,” Garcia said.

Students built model rockets and created space suits for their American Girl dolls.

“I would want to be the first kid to walk on the moon,” said eight-year-old Charley Nuckles-Fowler.

While she’s just eight years old, Norah Keith’s got dreams that are out of this world.

“I just always thought an engineer was cool because I love to build things,” Keith said.

Former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham took her first flight into space in 2006. The nearly 13-day mission included six other crew members where they continued construction to the International Space Station outpost, rewired the station’s power system, and more.

Higginbotham says it’s a moment she’ll never forget and seeing the Earth from a different angle was eye-opening.

“I think that’s what a lot of astronauts experience when they look back on the Earth and see exactly how fragile it is and right now it’s the only place we can call home,” Higginbotham.

She’s spent over 300 hours in space and participated in 53 space shuttle launches. She says Blue Origin’s flight is a new dynamic in space travel.

“Now you have other entities that have come into town, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, as well as Jeff Bezos who has shown there’s a different model and it’s really quicker, it’s a little cheaper and it’s faster than the traditional model that we’ve known for the last fifty years so that gives me some hope in another fifteen years or so it’ll be to the point where airline travel is today,” Higginbotham said.

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