Paradise Valley resident spends week at Space Academy at U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Danielle Verlardi (Submitted Photo)

Danielle Verlardi of Paradise Valley recently attended Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center — home of Space Camp, Space Camp Robotics, Aviation Challenge and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center.

The week-long educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving, a press release states.

This program is specifically designed for trainees who have a particular interest in space exploration. Ms. Verlardi spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station.

Once aboard the ISS, the crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity or spacewalk. Ms. Verlardi and crew returned to earth in time to graduate with honors, according to a release.

Space Camp operates year-round in Huntsville, Ala. 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 750,000 trainees have graduated from Space Camp since its inception in Huntsville, Alabama in 1982, including European Space Agency astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronauts Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Dr. Kate Rubins and Dr. Serena Auñón, who recently launched to the International Space Station. Children and teachers from all 50 states and 69 international locations have attended a Space Camp program.

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