Friends George Bell and Caitlin Bell have both participated in the Simulated Astronaut Training Programmes in the USA

Rolleston’s astronaut adventurers

by Ann van Engelen

Rolleston friends George Bell and Caitlin Bell have both experienced attending a United States Space Camp as part of the Simulated Astronaut Training Programmes.

George attends Kirkwood Intermediate school and has a scientific interest in technology and computers. With the support of his parents Emily and Chris, he recently returned from a week-long programme in Huntsville, Alabama.

“I was the space shuttle commander and capsule communicator in our simulated moon missions. My team rode simulators including the multi-axis simulator, which demonstrates an out of control spacecraft and the one-sixth microgravity chair, which simulates walking on the moon,” says George.

Caitlin attended the Parent and Child Camp in 2016 with her mother Anne-Marie Robinson who has been the United States Space Camp Ambassador to New Zealand since 1991. Caitlin was also Space Shuttle Commander and Flight Dynamics Officer, responsible for the flight path of the space vehicle at mission control.

“The campus has indoor and outside museum exhibits of rocketry and spacecraft, which both children were able to explore,” says Anne-Marie.

“Caitlin attends Rolleston School and is brought up around aeronautics as I teach Space Camp and Science programmes around New Zealand. The experience encourages science interests, and I have turned the opportunity into a science programme, and it is linked into our science curriculum. You do everything that real astronauts do but in a simulated way.

“Both children came back excited and inspired by their adventures. Caitlin still vividly remembers her experience — it is something you never forget and pretty much anybody can do.”

For more information contact Anne-Maree at