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Vancouver iTech Preparatory junior soars

Vancouver iTech Preparatory junior Rachel Friesen dedicated a portion of her summer to studying at the Advanced Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, in Alabama.

Friesen spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to the International Space Station, or ISS, to conduct experiments and complete a spacewalk. For their efforts, her team was awarded the Overall Outstanding Team patch. Friesen also received one science credit from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The center says that its weeklong educational program uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees—both students and adults—in real-world applications of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Students sleep in quarters designed to resemble the ISS and train in simulators like those used by NASA.

According to a press release from the center, more than 750,000 trainees have graduated from Space Camp over nearly 35 years, including STS-131 astronaut and former Hudson’s Bay High School teacher Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger; European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti; and Kate Rubins, who launched to the ISS this summer.

“The iTech STEM curriculum has motivated her to pursue activities in science, and my husband and I are so appreciative of the iTech opportunities,” said Erin Friesen, Rachel’s mother.

Rachel Friesen’s stint at the Advanced Space Academy doesn’t mark the end of Friesen’s adventures in the air, however. This month she will begin flight school at Pearson Airport. Her goal: Earn a pilot’s license after she turns 17.

(Pictured above: Rachel Friesen uses a robotic arm to practice repairing a satellite and participates in the scuba portion of the Advanced Space Academy. Photos courtesy of Erin Friesen)