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Brothers from Thomson attend Space Camp

Will and Dillard Norman of Thomson spent a week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., during the month of June.

Will attended the Space Academy Robotics program. He was assigned the position "station specialist" on a replica of the International Space Station. Part of his responsibility was that his team had to design and engineer a robot that would pick-up artifacts on the lunar surface using the computer and the Lego Mindstorm program. He learned about EVA's (Extra Vehicular Activity) and experienced weightlessness in space as part of the training. He also had classroom instruction learning about the space shuttle program, the international space station, and the history of aerospace.

His group named "AXLE" competed for several awards including designing space patches, robotics design, and the space bowl. His team received a special mission patch for winning the Space Bowl to signify his team's accomplishment.

Dillard participated in the Space Camp Aviation Program. His uniform consisted of a blue flight suit with his name displayed and several aviation patches were sewn on to signify that he was an aviator on team "Phoenix." He was given the call sign "Flip." Dillard's team also competed for various awards. His team won The Outstanding Team Award. He received a mission patch which consisted of each of the team members' last name embroidered on it.

Dillard says the two most exciting events about space camp were the "dog fighting" competitions in the flight simulators and that he met Astronaut Hoot Gibson and received his autograph. The worst part of space camp was the "gravel pit" mattress on his bed. He had the opportunity to participate in experience the G-Force simulator, moonwalking, and using the jet packs.

Both boys enjoyed the space museum, the IMAX movies and meeting kids from as far away as California and Colorado. The Space Museum is one of the largest space museums in the U.S.

Graduation ceremonies were held outside underneath the actual Discovery Space Shuttle. Astronaut Story Musgrave was the guest speaker. He has seven college degrees, flown on multiple shuttle missions, and designed the space suits for the EVA's. They both agreed that space camp was fun and educational.

Will and Dillard are the sons of Sandra and Larry Klein and Bill Norman. The boys surprised their parents with gifts and mementos as an appreciation for sending them to space camp. They gave their stepdad, Larry, a blue golf ball with a NASA logo for his golf ball collection and gave their mom a snow globe of a miniature replica of the Discovery space shuttle for her curio cabinet.

Web posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007

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