|Winners of Reach for the Stars Celebrate
The national winners in the sixth annual Reach for the Stars -- National Rocket Competition (Addie Cramer, Dean Taylor, Eric Madrigal and Zachary Johnson) celebrated in October at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and Kennedy Space Center -- Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral Florida, and at Space Camp and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Two of the national winners -- 16 year old Eric Madrigal and 14 year old Zachary Johnson -- received trophies and launched their rockets at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame before touring the Kennedy Space Center -- Visitor Complex. At the Astronaut Encounter Theater, Astronaut Jerry Ross presented the two winners with coins commemorating the last flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. Ross is a seven time space traveler and nine time space walker. The winners and their families then continued their celebration by visiting the Space Mirror Astronaut Memorial, standing in the world famous Rocket Garden, riding the Shuttle Launch Experience and more.
Addie Cramer, 13, and 12 year old Boy Scout Dean Taylor celebrated at Space Camp by launching rockets from Homer Hickam Field. They also experienced several space simulators, including walking on the moon in 1/6 gravity, doing zero-G repairs on the space station and piloting a Manned-Maneuvering-Unit (MMU).
Author Homer Hickam (Rocket Boys / October Sky) surprised the group by arriving at the Saturn V in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center to present trophies and award Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative coins to the winners and Helping Kids Reach for the Stars certificates to staff members Matt Green, Dexter Price and Brianna Jackson.
RFTS Collegiate Challenge winners Tasha Foster and Anas Bahabri are preparing for their celebration, which will be held at Kennedy Space Center -- Visitor Complex in January. Anas, who competed at the University of Miami, is the Florida state-wide winner. Tasha, who launched with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, holds the honors nationwide in this first annual event.
Both winners will receive their trophies and launch their rockets in celebration at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, where one of the world's most comprehensive collections of space memorabilia is displayed. Their celebration will continue at the KSC -- Visitor Complex where they will get to visit all the attractions including the Apollo /Saturn V Center and the Astronaut Experience.
The seventh annual Reach for the Stars -- National Rocket Competition kicked off at the Rocket Boys/October Sky Festival in Beckley, West Virginia. Competitions are already being held in the kids' levels at schools, scout troops, Challenger Learning Centers, YMCAs and youth groups across the country. The RFTS Collegiate Challenge is set to kick off in January of 2013. Local competitions for all levels can be held anytime throughout the year, with a deadline at the end of August. For more details about the competition go to therocketman.net.