Higher Orbits to Higher Robotics – A blog by Naina

Naina’s thoughts after attending Go For Launch! Durham

My dream was always to become an astronaut as I grew up. I had this fascination with the outside world, and what it would be like to land on the moon and leave my footprint on such an unmarked land. Slowly, as I grew up, I lost interest in that dream until my parents signed me up for the Go For Launch! program. There at the event we met an astronaut who talked about his experiences on the international space station. He talked about the rush of excitement, fear, and nervousness that comes with blasting off to space. Listening to him, creating an experiment for the space station, and diving right into so many aspects of STEM was so much fun for me. However, I found the engineering, and robotics behind launching a rocket ship very interesting.

Go For Launch! inspired me to pursue my growing interest in robotics. After the Go For Launch! program I became more curious about space and robotics. I had the opportunity to go to the Houston Space Center where we saw over 400 space exhibits, including shuttles where we could step inside and feel like a real astronaut. I also joined an experienced FLL team to pursue my interest in robotics (First Lego League is a robotics competition under the First program. This program encourages leadership, teamwork, and STEAM for all ages). Along with my new teammates we cleared regionals, states, and made it to an invitational (similar to a world’s) competition. There I met teams from across the world. Go For Launch! gave me a wonderful basis for teamwork and leadership skills that I used in that competition, and many others. In that competition season we published a book, informed many people about our project for that year, and had lots of fun with other teams. It showed me how to make my dreams real.

Go For Launch! inspired me to jump an extra step into STEAM, which I am still pursuing to this day.

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