HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Michaela Bush and Aidan Bush recently completed Aviation Challenge programs at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center. 

The week-long educational programs promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students and adults with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

Michaela participated in Mach II training for ages 12-14 and Aidan participated in Mach I training for ages 9-11. The programs are specifically designed for students who have an interest in military aviation and the mechanics of flight. 

They spent the week training with crews that flew simulated F-18 fighter jets. Crew members learned critical land- and water-survival skills and mastered Top Gun flying maneuvers, returning in time to graduate with honors.

Aviation Challenge opened in 1990 in Huntsville, and uses fighter pilot training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Students sleep in barracks designed to resemble military bays.

Among trainees who graduated from the AC and associated camps are STS-131 astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger; European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti; and NASA Expedition 48 astronaut Dr. Kate Rubins.

Visit www.spacecamp.com/aviation or call 1-800-637-7223 for more on the training services available.