A Waupaca sixth-grade student spent four days this summer at an introductory astronaut camp.
Oscar Martineau learned about the Future Astronaut Training Program from a relative who is an aeronautics design engineer.
Martineau graduated from Level 1 of the training program that was held at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kan.
“I like science,” said the son of Susan Reniewicki and David Martineau.
After checking out the program’s website, Martineau applied for a scholarship to attend the camp.
He received a scholarship, and his grandparents, Sharon and Ralph Reniewicki, drove him to and from the camp, which he appreciated.
What Martineau liked about the camp was the fact that there were many hands-on activities.
Campers trained in space simulators, launched homemade rockets and designed and directed robotic missions.
A different topic was covered each day.
Martineau had fun sitting in a Russian capsule and making a Mars rover.
His experience also included touring the Cosmosphere’s Hall of Space Museum.
The camp culminated with a mission in the Cosmosphere’s Falcon III, which is the most realistic shuttle simulator outside of NASA, and the monitoring of another team’s mission in the mission control center.
The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire the future of space exploration. It educates people from throughout the world and its Future Astronaut Training Program has five different levels.
Martineau stayed in a dorm when he attended the camp and enjoyed meeting youths from other states and other parts of the world. Approximately 30 children were at the camp.
Martineau also did a project about space for the Waupaca County Fair. His project received a blue ribbon.
He said he made many new friends and that in the museum, he saw a capsule that had been sent out into space by John Glenn and other capsules that did not work out for launches.
Martineau wants to attend the camp again next summer and is already saving his money for it, with plans to again apply for a scholarship.
“It was a really great experience. It would be a huge dream come true to work for NASA. It’s never old. We’re never going to learn everything about space,” he said. “It’s always going to be there.”