A Week in the Life at Space Camp

    3… 2… 1… blastoff! Get a glimpse into the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy, a week-long program for students at the US Space and Rocket Center.

    Have you ever dreamt of walking on the moon? What about building a rocket? Or being a part of a mission control operation that sends shuttles into space?

    Students can explore all the above (and more) through the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy, a week-long experience for teens 16 through 18. It’s open to children of Honeywell employees.

    The academy takes place at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and infuses science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming and leadership development into a space camp curriculum.

    Sofia Román Garrastazú, the daughter of Irene E. Garrastazú, a director of engineering program management in our aerospace business, was one of the attendees in 2022.

    “Space camp has been the most amazing experience of my life,” Sofia said. “I was able to meet scientists, engineers, and even astronauts.”

    Ready for liftoff? Here are the highlights of a week at space camp:  

    Sofia Román Garrastazú on the 1/6 gravity chair (left), which shows users what it feels like to walk on the moon. Sofia takes part in an astronaut training activity (right).

    Day 1

    Students arrived from all over the world at the US Space and Rocket Center, their home for the next five days, which holds the world’s largest collections of rockets and space memorabilia on display.  

    Once participants settled in their bunks and geared up – literally, with an official space camp uniform – they embarked on their first full day, which involved orientation, team-building activities, leadership training, and fun activities meant to connect one another.

    Students visit the center's planetarium. 

    Day 2

    The participants toured the US Space and Rocket Center, took part in robot and model rocket-building activities, learned from retired NASA astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, and trained like astronauts on the Multi-Axis Trainer, which simulates a turbulent ride through space. 

    Sam DeLay uses the Multi-Axis Trainer.

    Day 3

    Students trained for shuttle takeoff and landing using technology designed to simulate the experience, then learned what it’s like to walk on the moon. The moon’s gravitational pull is 1/6th of the force felt on Earth, so to practice like a pro, students took used a simulator known as the 1/6th chair – modeled after Apollo-era training equipment. 

    Soham Rane, Ignacio Canay, Sofia Román Garrastazú and Arnavi Joshi in mission training.

    Day 4

    The students guided their teammates through a simulated space shuttle mission.

    Day 5

    The students launched model rockets that they built and celebrated their accomplishments as a group with a graduation and closing ceremony.

    Since starting the program in 2010, Honeywell has sponsored nearly 3,000 students to attend the unique space camp experience.

    Yaorong Lin and Thomas Kennedy complete a team mission.

    For students like Sofia, it’s not only the skills and lessons she’s taken with her from the leadership challenge academy, but also the valuable relationships formed.

    "We were able to interact with people from all over the world; from the US, Europe, India, and even United Arab Emirates," Sofia said. "Without a doubt, my fellow campers were the best people I have met in my life. These are friendships that I will treasure my whole life."

    Learn more about Honeywell's commitment to bettering global communities, and read about some of our recent corporate social responsibility initiatives in the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report.