Friday, September 9, 2011

Coimbatore boy returns after five day training programme at NASA

COIMBATORE: Its not every day one gets to spend time in a real space flight simulator chamber in NASA, rub shoulders with outer space experts, sleep in a cylindrical space habitat or get a taste of actual astronaut food to be eaten during a space mission. City ninth grader B Vajresh was among the 16 member team that was selected for a five day training programme at NASA's Marshall Space Centre, Huntsville Alabama. He was also the team leader of the student group ATLAS at the space facility and they designed a lunar base which a team of experts adjudged as the best design at the space centre.

"It was a dream come true for me. We were given a detailed tour of the facility. It was an unforgettable experience for all of us," said B Vajresh. During the five day stay at the NASA facility, Vajresh got an opportunity to be in simulated environments where he did the moon walk, experienced under-water pressure and space ship travel simulations. He was also lodged in one of the space habitat facilities on the NASA campus.

"Five of us shared the space habitat. It was cylindrical in shape and it was a whole new experience for me to live with children from various parts of the globe. We have become good friends and maintain contact over internet," Vajresh added.

Vajresh was selected as part of the Annual Training Programme at the Huntsville held from May 15 to 20 earlier this year. Retired NASA Astronaut Story Musgrave honoured Vajresh and his team after they completed the training sessions. "We used to wake up every morning and were taken for seminars and sessions on space missions and life in space. We were also shown a number of documentaries about the various achievements of NASA in space research," said Vajresh.

However, he also added that the only sour part of the expedition was the food which he just did not like. However, he got an opportunity to taste an ice cream flavoured astronaut food item.

"My son was very much excited about the trip and still recounts his experience there," said S Balaji, Vajresh's father. Vajresh's teachers at Shri Nehru Vidyalaya claimed that he is one of their brightest students and was already interested in advance technologies including robotics. "He is very much interested in robotics and has also participated in a two day robotics workshop at NIT Trichy," said Punita Chandrasehar, Principal, Shri Nehru Vidyalaya.

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