Every year Brazil holds a Space Camp, an event where student enthusiasts of astronomy and astronautics gather to learn, meet, and compete. The goal of Space Camp is to encourage students to study astronomy, astronautics, and robotics. Space Camp also provides a setting in which students can meet others from throughout Brazil and from Paraguay who have similar interests to their own. The initiative is that of Dr. Oswaldo Loureta, CEO of Acrux Aerospace Technologies. Space Camp is national in scope and aligns with the Brazilian Olympiad of Astronomy and Astronautics. This year, the event took place at the Uniamérica University and the Recanto site in Foz do Iguaçu.
Students who received the highest grades in the Brazilian Astronomy Olympics (Olympiada Brasileira de Astronomia – OBA) were selected to take part. Four Nations’ students received invitations based on their OBA results in 2016: Gabriel Chandler, Gabriel Williams, Robert Gonçalves and Stefan Gonçalves.
At Space Camp, students watched a lecture by Dr. Oswaldo, and Eric, a former student School of the Nations. Students learned about 3D Modeling using Autodesk Fusion 360 software, which they later used to model their rockets and fins for the competition. Students designed, projected, and built rockets, powered by solid propellant motors.
Ms. Tunísia Schuler, a physics professor from USP, also gave a lecture. Students visited the astronomical observation center, where they visited the museum of meteorites and the planetarium. Every night, students looked at constellations and objects in deep space with telescopes and binoculars.
With lectures given by Mr. Jörg Bliesener and by a student of Electronics Engineering, Cadu, the teams learned about basic electronics, binary logic, and programming. Each of these were essential in creating a rover. The activity simulated a space mission in an unknown terrain. They also created a PocketQube, which uses a microcontroller, such as the Arduino Nano, to receive and store data from sensors.
On the Last day, students visited waterfalls to relax. The morning after the event, they received their results: the first three places went to teams from School of the Nations! The first team took home the rovers they created during the competition.