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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Heidi Burns, Girard, attends camp at Cosmosphere

  • Heidi Burns, Girard, daughter of George and Joeen Burns, loves everything about space, except how you get there.

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  • Heidi Burns, Girard, daughter of George and Joeen Burns, loves everything about space, except how you get there.
    “I’ve wanted to do something involved with space since I was a little kid,” Burns said.
    She graduated July 12 from the Camp KAOS Space 201 program at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.
    “The year before I went to Camp 101,” said Burns, who will be a Girard High School freshman in the fall. “I’m kind of a veteran now.”
    Space 201 is a six-day astronaut training camp for students entering at least eighth grade. The program emphasizes teamwork, leadership and problem solving, with nationally recognized science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs developed by Cosmosphere staff.
    The program incorporates aspects of astronaut training with advanced courses in space shuttle systems, space science, physiology and microgravity science.
    The camp’s capstone is an advanced simulated space shuttle mission in the Cosmosphere’s Falcon III, the most realistic shuttle simulator outside of NASA.  During the mission, campers capture and repair the Hubble Space Telescope using the Remote Manipulator System and Extra Vehicular Activity.
    To prepare for this advanced mission, participants undergo a full day of scuba training and other underwater exercises. Space 201 campers also experience high and low ropes course training, including conquering a 30-foot climbing wall and zipline, and learning night sky observation techniques using high-powered telescopes.
    Among the training is a ride in the 4-G simulator, which subjects riders to feel the force of four times the normal earth gravity. Burns is not a fan.
    “I’ve done it twice,” she said. “When a rocket takes off, the  astronaut experiences seven or eight gravities, and I just don’t think I could take that.”
    This probably rules out Burns becoming an astronaut, but she pointed out that it takes a lot of people working on the ground to support those in space.
    “What NASA does in both Houston and Florida is very important,” she said. “I’d hate to see what it would be like in space without the people on the ground. There are lots of jobs connected with space.”
    Burns especially enjoyed the  scuba training she underwent during Camp 201.  It’s part of astronaut training because floating in water provides the sensation of neutral gravity.
    “I loved it,” she  said. “It was so awesome to breathe underwater. I’d like to train astronauts in their big scuba pool. You could swim all day, so who wouldn’t like that?”
    Her next summer adventure will be to the University of Notre Dame to compete in America’s Youth on Parade, one of the largest twirling events in the nation.
    “I’ll represent the state of Kansas, and compete in  two modeling events, a X-strut, one-flag twirl, two-baton twirl and show twirl,” she said.  “I’ll be busy, but it’s worth it. I love busy summers jam-packed with fun.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Burns can also expect to be busy when school starts. She twirled at Girard Middle School, and will also strut at GHS.
    “I’ll be the GHS band twirler and march in every parade,” Burns said. “I can’t wait to see what awaits at high school.”
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