Mini Mandi of KV Trimulgherry was among five students to represent India at a ‘space camp' held in the US

She is all of 17 years but has managed to make the years count by her accomplishments within a short time. A student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Trimulgherry, Mini Mandi has just returned to India after taking part in a one-week ‘Space Camp' at U.S. Space and Rocket Centre, Huntsville, Alabama.

The class 12 student still can't believe her stars for being selected by the US Consulate. She was the one among five others to be selected from India and the only student to make it from KV schools in the State.

While interacting with The Hindu on Monday, the student recalled her experiences in the camp. “We experienced weightlessness like astronauts do. We also got to walk on the surface of the moon in a simulated environment. The screening of a movie on Hubble satellite in IMAX format was thrilling,” she said.

Along with 500 students drawn from all over the World, Mini stayed at the Space and Rocket Centre for one week to get a first hand experience of the training that is given to astronauts. “We had hands-on activities like building a rocket and learning the real moon walk using a gravity chair simulator. We also experienced frictionless movement in simulators,” says Mini.

Representing her school in KV regional sports as an athlete, NCC and good academic performance helped her in selection. The young girl was endorsed and nominated by her Principal T. A. Babu and Assistant Commissioner, K. V. Sangathan, Hyderabad, S. Selvaraj for the space camp. The icing on the cake for the youngster was the graduation day, which was organised on the last day of the space camp to felicitate participants. “We got to meet astronaut Story Musgrave who had completed six space missions. In fact he was the one who gave us our graduation certificates. On the last day, we also received a message from Hillary Clinton congratulating us for taking part in the camp,” she said.

The proud youngster now, rightly so, aims to be an astronaut.

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