News Column

AdventGX opening space camp for local youth in Downtown Bryan

June 3, 2014

By Beth Brown, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

June 03--The company that's working to bring NASA's backup mission control to Bryan-College Station is starting a space camp that will allow local kids to be space flight controllers.

Local startup TSTAR, which stands for Texas Space Technology Applications and Research, will host TSTAR Space Camp through the SEAD Academy in Downtown Bryan. The weeklong space camp will allow kids between the ages of 10 and 14 to be trained in handling NASA equipment and eventually learn to manage spacecrafts in a simulation.

"They'll have to learn to manage spacecraft propellants and oxygen to keep the humans alive, and they'll learn to control the spacecraft in a hostile environment," said Matt Leonard, president of TSTAR.

The camp will be the first of its kind, and Leonard said he expects the curriculum to expand in future years to accommodate for high school and college-aged students. For now, he's starting with middle school students to gauge interest.

TSTAR is working to draw NASA's backup control center to the area, though those plans are ongoing. The facility, when it's not being used as an emergency location for NASA, would be tasked with addressing unique challenges and innovating for space exploration.

Leonard said he plans to have instructors at camp from both the flight control community and NASA to teach kids about the simulation. No experience or knowledge is necessary for the camp, "just an interest in space," Leonard said.

On the last day of camp, which runs from Aug. 4-9, students will publicly run a simulation in which they have to operate a vehicle in space.

"The public will get to see everything they're doing and how it affects the vehicle, and see if it's going to survive," Leonard said. "They'll have limited resources, like oxygen and water, and the environment is space, so it's cold and there's radiation concerns and communication is hard because you're so far away from Earth."

The SEAD Academy is a project by Downtown Bryan-based AdventGX. Those interested in enrolling in the TSTAR Space Camp can do so at


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Source: Eagle (Bryan, TX)

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