Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

What Space Camp forum would be complete without a place to talk about one of the best/worst movies of all time, SpaceCamp, as well as all Space Camp references in pop culture.

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Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby p51 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:14 am

...well, a lot of it, anyway. :roll: Here are a few things that "Space Camp," and "Space Warriors" will teach you about Space Camp that are dead wrong, posted on my personal SC website:

You get to fly into space if you're lucky. No flipping way will this ever happen to you. EVER. You wouldn't expect to go to a baseball fantasy camp and be thrown into a Major League game by the end of it, would you? Movies about a training program of any kind have to have a better ending than whoever ever did the best ('Top Gun' had to have a dogfight and anyone's who been through that training will tell you you'd never see everyone from the same class in the same dogfight the day after they compete that school), so they have to have kids going into space, or helping out with astronauts. 'Space Warriors' had the winning team going to the International Space Station, yet nobody mentioned that at the end of the film, so I guess it was a bait-and-switch? Or maybe NASA either realized the Russians would never launch kids from their facilities or realized how insane the idea was as they almost lost three astronauts on the ISS. By the way, the original ending of 'Space Camp' was to have Russian Space Camp kids rescuing the American shuttle kids. How stupid would that ending have been?

You'll have an astronaut for a trainer. Yeah. Not gonna happen! The bottom line is that Space Camp isn't actually run by NASA and astronauts don't get to Huntsville nearly as much as they did in the Apollo era. Your trainer will be someone in their early 20s. Yes, some camp sessions will have someone who's flown to space talk to large groups, but that's as good as it gets (most adult camps never get this as those sessions are small). Current astronauts are simply way too busy to show up to help out at Space Camp.

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A soon-to-fly shuttle pilot and someone who's walked on the Moon as your trainers at Space Camp? This never happens.

Space Camp is competitive and to even show up, you have to be the best of the best. Nah. You just have to have pay the fee to get there and have a pulse. They even have sessions for blind people. People do compete to a degree for the "Right Stuff" award each session, but that's as close as it gets. You're there to have fun and enjoy yourself, you can stress yourself at school or work if that's your thing and you never have to leave your hometown for that.

Study your backside off, because you have to know the systems inside and out. There's no time for that, your missions are run off checklists, and at first you have no clue what you've just done. This is supposed to fun, not work! By the time you've run a mission you get a small clue what you're doing. And there's not a lot of downtime to study anything, anyway.

Any other examples I've missed? :mrgreen:
Last edited by p51 on Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby Hotdog » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:27 pm

First one that comes to mind: there's no flight stick on the MAT. You're just along for the ride. You'll need to download a space flight sim if you want to learn how to regain control of a tumbling spacecraft.

Also, no talking robot like JINX wheeling around. But maybe you can build one out of legos in the robotics program

I'm sure I can think of more later.
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby p51 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:35 pm

I was thinking in terms of what both SC movies have 'taught' an unsuspecting public, specifically things they could figure out on their own (I doubt anyone has ever shown up for SC thinking there were sentient robots running around, but one trainer told me there have been kids in the past show up at Camp hoping that someone from SC would be able to get close to launch hardware or be sent into space for real if they were lucky).
Another I'm going to add will be this:

Every team dresses differently so you can tell who your team is. Nope. People are given the same t-shirt for the program they’re in, with no regard for what team they’re on. So if another person is there at the same time doing the same program, they were given the same shirt you were. And as for flight suits, they’re not worn nearly as often as the movies would suggest. As hot and humid as it is in Huntsville, most people dress in the camp t-shirts and shorts if they’re smart.
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby Conan » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:59 pm

One that occurs to me is that teams are not chosen to include people with different talents or strong points. Or that Space Camp even bothers to find out in advance what your strong points are. Teams are usually put together based on the preferences of the people coming or to put people who are coming as a group together.
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby gt0163c » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:29 am

Conan wrote:Teams are usually put together based on the preferences of the people coming or to put people who are coming as a group together.


And, at least it used to be the case, teams are put together based on when you sign-up and pay your money. If you do it as early as possible, you're most likely to be put on the same team as other people who signed up as early as possible and are hard core space geeks and super excited to be there. At least that was my experience (and I ended up with a couple of awesome teams when I went as a kid).
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby p51 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:10 pm

Thanks to Conan, I added this one last night:
They’re going to put you with a group of people carefully balanced with all the right skills to take on any scenario. Space Camp neither knows nor cares what skills you have. The only time they put specific people together in any group is when you request being on the same team with the buddies of yours you know will be there at the same time. They can’t possibly screen everyone for their true talents to pick who’d do best at what positions during the missions being run. They fill those positions with names and you do a ‘sink or swim’ version of astronaut training. That’s how it works.
I'll be adding this one later today:
Space Camp ends forever once you're around 18 or so. There is a program for adults who want to go to Space Camp and it's been in operation for almost the whole time Camp has been in operation (in fact, the first Adult program started the week after the film crew for the first "Space Camp" movie left Huntsville). Recently scaled back from a week-long program to three days, the adult sessions often sell out. They take place at the end of the summer, usually in September, when the kids are gone. But yes, adults do go to Space Camp!
I'm thinking of adding a section of how you don't nearly get as much free time as depicted in the movies, but I'm not familiar with how much free time the kid sessions really get (if any). All I know is the Adult camp, which gives very little free time except for the night before graduation, where most people head over to Otters.

I also got to thinking about "Smile as big as the Moon" and I don't recall much about that movie that really gave you a bad false overall impression other than again pushing the whole, "it's a giant competition" kind of thing with judges watching you every move. Earlier SC sessions weren't like that, right?
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby Conan » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:00 am

You are sure right about not having any free time. It's like that in the Parent/Child programs too. If a kid went out to lie on the moonscape and look at the stars, he would fall asleep in minutes due to the exhausting schedule!
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby p51 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:46 am

I don't have a DVD of "Smile as big as the Moon," and only saw it once. Does anyone recall a 'you gotta be kidding me' moment from that fim I could include as well?
Conan wrote:You are sure right about not having any free time. It's like that in the Parent/Child programs too. If a kid went out to lie on the moonscape and look at the stars, he would fall asleep in minutes due to the exhausting schedule!

Good, that's what I'd assumed. I'll be adding this as well:
You'll have plenty of free time. The schedule for most of the Space Camp programs is pretty filled up, as they want to give you the best bang for your buck and also exhaust you so you don't give them any problems at night. Also, those simulators and team rooms are usually used only when you're with your trainer, during the times you're scheduled to use them. So, going off and getting some time on the F-18s or shuttle simulators really isn't going to happen unless you're scheduled for it (and everyone else on your team will be there with you). And forget about running over to Launch Complex 39 to see anything sitting there waiting to be launched (like they did in the "Space Camp" movie, as Kennedy Space Center is just short of 700 miles from Huntsville!
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby SpaceCanada » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:29 pm

As a kid and adult at the longer programs, there was some free time each week. We did things like playing cards, playing volleyball, or wandering around Rocket Park (in groups, with an adult). They also had 'team time', which was essentially free time as long as we did things together. There was time scheduled for star gazing each week, and we were so hyped up about being there that we didn't fall asleep. I presume the three day programs are too short to afford free time. So those movie scenes with free time aren't entirely misconceptions, maybe just stretching reality a little. I also know one of our counsellors stayed up later than usual with us, so we got some extra free time at night to hang around at the bottom of the Hab or star gaze.
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Re: Everything you know from Space Camp movies is wrong...

Postby street » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:15 pm

SpaceCanada wrote:I also know one of our counsellors stayed up later than usual with us, so we got some extra free time at night to hang around at the bottom of the Hab or star gaze.
Not going to happen with any of the children's programs...especially to 'hang around the bottom of the hab'. That hab is already full of 300+ younger kids who were sent to bed starting at 9 PM. Lights Out are strictly adhered to. Everybody, including (and especially) counselors need their sleep!

Team Time is the only 'free' time allotted to trainees, but as you said, you stay with your team and usually do an activity the team leader has organized. I'm always amused at the parents that mail books to their children so 'they'll stay busy'. You are on the go from wake-up (7 AM, at the latest!) to lights out (9:30 for the youngest to 11 PM for the high schoolers).
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