What does a visit to the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, teach you? Siddharth Sachdeva, a Class 11 student of Mount Carmel School, Dwarka, learnt about time management. “I did not understand the value of time till I was on this space mission. Everything has to follow a schedule. Even movements have to be precise. A delay of few seconds in any activity might lead to our team members being left back in the space, while we return to earth.”
Delhi-based Sachdeva was one of the 300 students from 36 countries selected by the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy for a trip to the US Space and Rocket Centre on the basis of his academic achievements and community involvement. The scholarship is funded by contributions from Honeywell and its employees and takes care of the cost of tuition, meals, accommodation and programme materials for students.
The simulated exercises on various space missions provided students an opportunity to apply classroom learning into practice in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
Sachdeva, who wants to pursue a career in aerospace engineering found the space mission exercise to be most exciting. “I played the role of a command pilot in orbiter mission and my job was to ensure safe take off and landing of the spacecraft. While doing this exercise, I realised the importance of effective team coordination, clarity in communication and the real value of time, three most important things to ensure the safe landing of my team members in that spacecraft.”
Rock climbing, moon walk, designing, building and testing rockets, simulated astronaut training and shuttle missions were some of the exercises this group of students aged between 16 years to 18 years got to experience. Sachdeva was one of the 17 students from India, who went on this trip.
The mission brought Sachdeva out of his comfort zone, challenged his abilities and prepared him for future leadership roles.