Madalyn Eve Bardowell of Nashville recently attended Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Madalyn, 13, participated in the Space Academy Program, which is specifically designed for trainees who have a particular interest in science and aerospace. The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math, while training students and adults with hands-on activities and missions based on team work, leadership and decision-making.
She spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station. Once aboard the ISS, the crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity, or space walk.
Madalyn and crew returned to earth in time to hear retired Space Shuttle astronaut Col. Bob Springer speak at their graduation.
Madalyn is the daughter of Doris and Danny Bardowell and a student at Southern Nash Middle School.
Space Camp operates year-round and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects.
Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.
More than 600,000 trainees have graduated from Space Camp since its opening in 1982 in Huntsville, including STS-131 astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger.
Last year, children and teachers from all 50 states and 58 international locations attended Space Camp.