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S4ALL's Space Mission

Back in March at 0800 hours saw us assemble in the library for distribution of five space credits by Commander Turner and his crew. Half an hour later we were off, heading south for the National Space Centre in Leicester. Cosmonaut Segal led the mission into the space centre, weaving our way past crocodiles of schoolchildren who had not yet broken up for Easter. The cosmonaut negotiated free entry into a film heading across the cosmos at 13.50 hours, but before that, we were free to wander and learn. First of all, though, came the distribution of crisps and other space rations for the space cadets. We discovered that weightlessness had its drawbacks and was not necessarily good for us before entering a simulator which bumped us on a journey to one of Saturn's moons Astronaut Squires had a rough ride at times as she led the mission from the front.


We found ourselves next to American, Russian, European and even British rockets as we pushed further into the centre. Displays from the early days of space exploration were everywhere with pictures of Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin looking down at us.

Some of us are old enough to remember the space race in the Sixties, but space cadets were introduced to a timeline showing events like the birth of J.K. Rowling which were happening on Earth at the same time. Several members of the mission used the space centre's facilities to record a weather forecast for the nation using satellite technology. The cadets were introduced to the first Doctor Who, a spin-off of time and space.

From time to time the astronauts would meet for a pit stop in the Soyuz Lounge for more space rations eaten under the watchful eye of Cosmonaut Segal. We witnessed the death of stars and wondered at the size of our own star the sun before visiting a variety of planets and even saw some moon rock before gathering outside the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium for an out of this world film experience where we rose and fell as we travelled across the universe to ever further destinations in deep space.

1700 hours found us landing in Stainforth and docking in the library with extra-terrestrial travel firmly under our belts, and our horizons widened immensely. Speculation was rife on the voyage home as to which cadet would be first on the next journey into space.

Stephen Cooke

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