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“This is exciting,” De Fatta said. “I want to thank everyone for being here. If you are here now it is because you are interested in space. There are great opportunities and one is to continue your education. Keep this in the back of your minds and remember this week for your futures.”

Since 1996, ASMDA has awarded scholarships to children, ages 9-11, of a parent or guardian assigned to the USASMDC, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, Missile and Space Intelligence Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center or the Missile Defense Agency, whether military or government civilian.

The 20 Space Camp students this year are from the Huntsville area, Alaska, Colorado, and Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands.

They include: Owen Abel, Eric Allen, Ryan Allen, Aiyana Anderson, William Ange, Sadie Basinger, Brittany Book, Charlotte Doak, Khariana Faletagaloa, Aubrey Jenkins, Bailey Jenkins, Ethan Karmozyn, Charlise Lene, Caden Mayfield, Elana Parker, Rowen Primeaux, Morgan Roop, Kenzie Spera, Emi Takenami and Jakerra Wilder.

Dr. Steve Pierce, USASMDC chief technology officer, talked to the campers and told them how proud everyone was of them for being selected and congratulated them on receiving the scholarships.

“Congratulations to all of you Space Campers,” Pierce said. “This takes a lot of courage and fortitude to be able to do something like this. This is a great event because it really does inspire our future leaders, our future astronauts and our future engineers and scientists. I am impressed with your imagination, your descriptions of things we can do, and some of the things we are not able to do today but will be able to do in the future.

“Many of your parents are serving or have served with our military defending the nation,” he added. “All of your moms and dads may not be working in aerospace, but they are today’s heroes because they are raising you and they are why we can celebrate Independence Day. And each one of you have the potential to be tomorrow’s heroes.”

After the luncheon, some of the campers spoke about what they had learned and how excited they were to be at Space Camp.

“Space Camp has been very fun however some parts have been a little scary,” Ange from Colorado Springs said. “I would recommend Space Camp for anyone interested.

“On our mission, I was a mission specialist where I helped build an extravehicular activity,” he added. “It was both fun and challenging. They made me wear a space suit that really did not let you move very well.”

During the week, the children participated in activities including rocket construction and launch, water activities, a simulated Space Shuttle mission, Mars mission simulators, Manned Maneuvering Unit, Multi-Axis Trainer and an IMAX movie.

The students were selected for the scholarship based on an essay, school grades, interest in science and space, and financial need. The scholarship covers one week at Space Camp, travel, a flight suit, clothing package, a calling card and spending money.

“I love Space Camp, It is awesome,” Doak from Huntsville said. “We have been to a couple of presentations, which are actually really interesting. Then we had our shuttle mission, and we did awesome. We all loved our jobs and it was super fun. It was challenging, but we did it. I was a mission specialist and got to do an EVA.

“I would definitely recommend Space Camp to anyone,” she added. “It’s the best thing ever. You should definitely come here. You won’t regret it at all, and your dreams can come true.”