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Astronaut to visit Boise for teen aviation camp

Astronaut and test pilot Joe Edwards this summer will give teens a firsthand account of how it feels to launch into space and test fighter jets. Edwards will be featured at the Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy, June 28-30, sponsored by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) Division of Aeronautics.

The ACE Academy is open to teens from 14 through 18 years of age. Enrollment is limited to 40 students; applications must be submitted to the Aeronautics Division by Friday (May 7).

As a NASA astronaut, Edwards piloted the shuttle that took the last American crewmember to the Russian Mir space station. This was the eighth Shuttle-Mir docking mission and involved the transfer of more than 9,000 pounds of scientific equipment, hardware and water from Space Shuttle Endeavour to Mir. The mission lasted more than eight days and traveled 3.6 million miles in 138 orbits of the Earth.

During that mission, Edwards flew the closest maneuvers around an orbiting space station of any astronaut. He also managed development and operations of the International Space Station from Star City, Russia.

“The prospect of learning directly from an astronaut is incredibly exciting for these kids,” says Frank Lester of the ITD Division of Aeronautics. “We’re working to capture the attention of our youth and inspire them into action. For them, it’s a chance to learn what kinds of exciting careers are possible – whether it’s for flying a commercial airplane, operating an airport or exploring space.”

During the three-day academy, students will hear from experts in aviation-related fields, as well as representatives of regional and national aeronautical schools. Tours of the Boise Airport, local aviation businesses and flight operations and the Idaho Air National Guard also are scheduled.

The academy culminates with flights to nearby airports, such as Idaho City or Garden Valley. Each student has the opportunity to plan and navigate a cross-country flight under the guidance of an experienced volunteer pilot. Upon return to the Treasure Valley, students tour the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. Many past ACE Academy students characterize the event as the highlight of their summer vacation.

ACE registration fee is $60 and is payable after a student has been selected for the academy. Applications are available from school counselors, by calling the Idaho Division of Aeronautics at (208) 334-8775, or online at Academy/Ace main page.htm (click on “Aeronautics” then “ACE Academy”). You also may download an application here.

The event is sponsored by the ITD Division of Aeronautics, the Federal Aviation Administraton, the Idaho Aviation Hall of Fame, Inc., the Idaho Ninety-Nines, the Warhawk Air Museum, the Lynn Clark Memorial and the Boise Airport.

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