The unforgettable European Space Camp 2019

My experience at the European Space Camp 2019

European Space Camp logo

Read more about the European Space Camp here

If you want to meet a cosmonaut, launch a rocket, work in a team, enjoy good moments with people from all over the world or learn something new about space and rocket engineering, then the European Space Camp is for you! You’ll be able to build, name, launch and control a sounding rocket at the Andøya Space Center, 2° North from the Polar Circle!

My experience

I had the incredible opportunity to attend the “European Space Camp 2019” at the Andøya Space Center, from the 8th of August to the 15th, together with other young boys and girls from all over the world. I really could not believe my eyes when I saw an email by the head of the camp, Gaute, telling me that I was accepted, that I had to buy tickets for the plane, fly to Oslo and the Andenes, 3000 Km away from home. I started dreaming of going to this camp since I was 16, so you can imagine how happy I was at that moment!

During all the camp I worked together with my team, the Payload team, together with Helena from Norway and Charles from New Zealand, to build the payload of the rocket we launched at the end of the camp. We had to decide where to put each sensor (made by the Sensors group) on the plate, wire everything, test the rocket with the Telemetry group and then take it to the launch area. Moreover, I was the “Payload Manager”: every decision had to be approved by me, I had to write down all the formulae for the sensors and tell the Telemetry Team about them, and finally press the “ARM!” button right before the launch of the rocket “Space Shipriani IV”, which was named after me by the rest of the Payload Team since I did a pretty good job organizing everything: just two student rockets were completed by students only since the Space Camp was established in 1996, the other ones had to be completed by the NAROM teachers before the launch! We were proud of our result!

I had unforgettable moments with everyone, from the various social activities organized by Anders to the morning astronaut-themed gym, from understanding the formulae needed to get the data from the sensors to analyzing that data. The Space Camp was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas with people from all over the world (10 different nations, from Poland to Russia, from Finland to New Zealand and the USA!), learn a lot of new things about how to work in Space Centers, Aurora Borealis, satellites, travels to Mars and so on. All this speaking English all the time! People there are awesome, not only the Team Space Camp and the participants, but also all the NAROM (National Center for Space-related Education) employees, who helped us understand how to assemble the rocket and analyse the data.

However, Space Camp is not only making rockets or playing together. The rest of the time we attended lectures about the work of the Space Center and Kongsberg, how Northern Lights glow, the activity of the Sun and the all the rovers that arrived on the Red Planet. I’m thankful to all the experts who talked during these lessons, especially Sophie Cottis-Allan, who arrived directly from the British National Space Academy to show us lunar rocks, solar panels from Hubble Space Telescope and IR cameras. Moreover, Team Space Camp asked me to hold a lecture about astrophotography! You can find the presentation at the bottom of the page!

We also met the Russian cosmonaut Andrej Borisenko, who showed us exclusive videos recorded inside the Soyuz spacecraft and answered all of our questions about how life is in the ISS. He gave gifts to who asked the best questions, plus one lapel pin to me because I fixed his broken Jurij Gagarin pin! Later, he signed our books and participated in the launch of the rocket! I also gave him a photo of mine, the Pleiades, to thank him and he was really happy to receive it!

After the launch, which was completed successfully, we analyzed all the data the telemetry stations received and realized that our rocket arrived up to 8.5 Km at a vertical speed of more than 800 m/s! We had a lot of sensors inside the rocket: temperature, pressure, current, battery voltage, light, magnetic field, acceleration and GPS. Feel free to download the Payload Team’s presentation at the bottom of the page, it’s full of data and there’s the full list of sensors with photos! We also named every sensor, take a look at the names!

The evening after the launch we had a bonfire altogether, so we ate marshmallows and bread while talking and walking on the beach, near the arctic sea in which we swam the previous hour! Instead, the last evening we had a show in which every team organized games or dances: quizzes by the Sensors Team, swing by our team and a song by the Team Space Camp! It was a magic moment!

I would like to end this post with a loud THANK YOU to everyone who took part in the European Space Camp! Helena, Charles, Florian, Moriz, Marcus, Astrid, Sophie, Anna, Magnus, Mathias, Vilde, Azat, Emil, Hans, Anne, Kasia, Hope, Stefan, Ethan, Finn, Natalie, Lucia, Ellen, Gaute, Tiia, Anders, Nina, Inge and all the NAROM teachers! I’ll never forget you!


cloud_download Astrophotography lecture by Marco Cipriani

cloud_download Payload Team presentation