I was one of 24 students from across the world selected to attend the week-long European Space Camp 2013 at the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway, and one of just 2 who were awarded full scholarships from the European Space Agency.
It was an absolutely fantastic week, during which we took part in a wide range of workshops (such as building model rockets and finding out about hybrid rocket engines), talks (including some on the aurora, rocket design, history of space exploration, mars missions, space weather and aerodynamics), social activities (including fun competitions, engineering challenges, quizzes, a whale safari, and the dreaded morning gym), tours of local science centres (such as the LIDAR observatory), and our very own rocket launch! After a week of working hard in groups on different parts of the rocket launch preparation, we launched the ESCapist on Friday afternoon – it reached an incredibly height at apogee of 8.2km! I was nominated the Principal Investigator, responsible for pressing the big
red button!

As a member of the Space Physics group, most of my week was spent doing fun calculations both by hand and using MATLAB to predict the trajectory of the rocket and what conditions it would experience
during flight. We also had a competition with the Rocket System Design group to build the best model rockets and launched a weather balloon to investigate the environmental conditions above the rocket range – an important precursor to launching a rocket since the weather can have a huge impact on the motion of the rocket and only under certain conditions is it safe to launch. We also analysed the data from the sensors in the rocket and presented this in the post-flight meeting.

Another highlight of my week was watching a real research group’s rocket launch, WADIS-1, despite having to wait until 2am!
Overall, I had an absolutely amazing experience and made some really great new friends!
Students aged 17-20 from any country are eligible to apply, and I’d highly recommend it for students interested in space, physics or engineering. For more information and to apply, visit their website.

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