Nicole Cameron, a student at Otumoetai College in Tauranga, and Jack Nelson, from Trident High School in Whakatane, have been selected by Royal Society Te Apārangi to attend the European Space Camp at the Andøya Space Center in northern Norway.
The first space camp took place at the Andøya Center in 1996 and has since attracted over 500 participants from over 20 countries around the world. Some of the best lecturers from across Europe speak on topics as diverse as rocket physics, the work of CERN and the northern lights. Group work enables participants to spend a week in the life of a scientist and tackle a problem relating to the rocket launch. There are five groups in total: Rocket System Design, Experimental Instrumentation, Payload, Rocket Telemetry and Rocket Physics. The highlight of the week is the rocket launch, which takes place near the end of the week, with enough time to analyse the results of the launch before the students depart.
Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive at Royal Society Te Apārangi says: “Not only is this a great opportunity for talented young New Zealanders to interact with experts at the top of their fields in space science but it is also an occasion for students to meet other like-minded students from around the world and to share their passion for space but also learn about their cultural differences.”
Nicole intends to study a Bachelor of Engineering next year at the University of Canterbury with a focus on aerospace engineering. She is an avid astronomer and often uses her telescope to explore the night sky, also incorporating her love of photography to capture images of the planets. Having attended a couple of science events based in New Zealand last year Nicole says: “ I was exhilarated by the shared energy, creativity and insight of other students that I worked with and believe that this international opportunity will offer new knowledge, skills, connections, inspiration and broader perspectives which I will cherish.”
Jack is head boy at Trident High School and is striving for a career in aerospace engineering in the future. He mentors students in mathematics at school and also serves on the Whakatane Youth Council. He says: “Over the years I have developed a passion for all things space and I’m inspired by the potential opportunities in this field.” Jack’s interests outside of science include being a member of the 1st XV rugby team, which involves a couple of training sessions each week and playing on Saturdays.
Set amongst a stunning backdrop of mountains and facing the Norwegian Sea, the Andøya Space Center enjoys a truly spectacular location in northern Norway. But, because the space camp is so remote it is not the easiest place to get to and the flight costs are expensive. However, the Talented School Students Travel Award, administered by Royal Society Te Apārangi and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, will fund 70% of the students’ travel and registration fees. This Fund supports secondary school students who have been selected on a national basis to attend international science and technology events.
Nicole and Jack leave for the European Space Camp in August.