Deutsch (DE-CH-AT)English (United Kingdom)Russian (CIS)Italian - ItalyFrench (Fr)Español(Spanish Formal International)
<<  September 2022  >>
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
     1  2  3  4
  5  6  7  8  91011
External news
Student reports - 2022 - Artemis 1

Portraits of my team members

Yvonne and Ralf Heckel
Yvonne und Ralf Heckel

This is an anniversary year for my parents. 20 years ago they started to build up today's International Space Education Institute together with Prof. Dr. Jesco vn Puttkamer. That's why there is also a 20 on the mission logo. At that time, the goal was to recruit new engineers for the upcoming moon and Mars landings and to get them on their way. This trip is a promise of the professor who led the International Space Station ISS for more than 10 years and who already died 10 years ago as the longest serving NASA employee. But my parents also made a promise. With long-term dedication, they both stuck to it and overcame many hurdles to get here. Now here we are, surrounded by young NASA space engineers of our own and old, for the first launch back to the moon. It's a story like the book I'm reading right now: "Apollo 8 - Departure into Space, by Jesco von Puttkamer". Here in America, you can only feel the high respect my parents receive. They get asked a lot.

Tara and Jesco



My two siblings are always with me when I go on a big trip. Tara is 13 and visits the Quartiersschule an der Ihmelstraße in Leipzig (secondary school). Jesco is 8 and attends the 3rd grade of the 74th elementary school in Leipzig. Both write reports just like everyone else and have assignments, just different ones according to their age. Like me, both have grown up with these programs since childhood and are experienced in them. Tara is the best in her class and Jesco is the best CAD designer and 3D printer of his age that everyone here knows. My parents always take us with them because we grow from it and also give a reason for some extra space for important equipment in the luggage. I'm very grateful that both of them always manage to do this with their own power.

Cosma Heckel
Cosma Heckel

I am Cosma Heckel, 15 years old and I was born in Leipzig (Germany). Meanwhile I am 1,70 m and surpass a few of my team members. My hair is light brown, my eyes are blue and my body is relatively sporty. Self, I would describe myself as a bright personality, always looking for new knowledge. I am open to anything and everything, which is why I am building my own team for the HERC competition along with Arthur Sommer. My siblings Tara (13) and Jesco (8) Heckel are also on it. They both write reports about what they experience.

Arthur Sommer
Arthur Sommer

Arthur Sommer is from Leipzig and has been with us since July 2022. He is about 2 m tall with brown hair and chestnut eyes. He plays basketball in the club and trains in the gym, and recently also on the NASA rover. Arthur is a nice person who is helpful and cares about the well-being of his team. He works on projects with determination, focus and perseverance. A good quality is also that he asks questions if he does not understand something.

Alina Santander
Alina Santander

Alina is 24 years old, comes from Bolivia, has a Russian mother and can speak 4 languages fluently (Spanish, German, English Russian). She first came to us in Leipzig in 2015, completed a 2-month summer camp and celebrated her 16th birthday with us. She participated 3 times in the Roverchallenge, 2 times with us, once with her own team and was invited on very many TV shows. Alina is very popular in Bolivia. She has been studying mechatronics in New York since we won the world championship together in 2019.

Valeria Zafra
Valeria Zafra

Valeria Zafra Vasquez is 24 years old, comes from Mexico City and is now smaller than me. NASA engineers think we're in the same class. But she has a degree in engineering from UNAQ in Querataro and works as an engineer on the interior design of the cyber truck at Tesla. She interned at the International Space Education Institute in Leipzig in 2020, instructing us in Solid-Works and helping convert the institute to virtual instruction during Covid.

Team Mexico:

David Suares
David Suares

Team Leader for Team Mexico and Professor of Engineering at the Cuernavaca Campus of Tec Monterrey in Mexico. He has been friends with my father Ralf Heckel for a long time and both work closely together in terms of student exchange. The NASA rover team of Tec Monterrey Campus Cuernavaca already received the Jesco von Puttkamer International Team Award of the College Division 2 times. This is also the reason for the invitation for this team to the rocket launch by the International Space Education Institute and NASA Headquarters.

Abraham Vega
Abraham Vega

Abraham Vega is about 1,75m tall, has black shoulder-length hair and wears glasses. He is a mechatronics engineering student at Tec de Monterrey, an analog astronaut at the Lunares Scientific Research Station, a scientist and researcher, and will soon publish his first article. He completed a 3-month internship last year at the International Space Education Institute in Leipzig, Germany.

Ian Doring Romo
Ian Doring Romo

Ian Doring is about 1,75m tall and has dark brown hair. He wears glasses and has a nice smile. He cares about the well-being of every team member and is studying mechatronics at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Cuernavaca campus. He is 19 years old and has participated in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge for two years. Last year, he was the project leader of the team that won the Ingenuity Award and first place overall in the virtual challenge without personal participation.

Jorge Emiliano Turner Escalante
Jorge Emiliano Turner Escalante

Jorge Emiliano Turner Escalante studies computer science at the Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus in Cuernavaca. He is 20 years old about 1,80m tall and has brown curly hair. He is a bit shy but a very nice personality. He helps the team with imaginative ideas and usually thinks two steps ahead. Called by friends: Turner, he participated in the virtual NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge 2022, taking first place overall with Iktan Roving, but without having a rover in the course. He is part of the TecXotic underwater robotics team in the MATE ROV competition and is currently a junior mentor on the FIRST Robotics Competition high school team Lebotics.

Sebastián Cruz
Sebastián Cruz

Sebastián Cruz is a 22-year-old engineering student in mechatronics at the Monterrey Technological Institute on the Cuernavaca campus. He is about 1,80m tall has heavily curled, reddish hair and always a smile on his face. Cruz (his nickname) always has a joke to spare and is, however, a very good engineer. Thus, with Iktan Roving as STEM leader, he won several HERC awards, including second place in 2021 on the Virtual Challenge, first place in 2022, the STEM Engagement and Ingenuity Award.

Daniela Espinosa
Daniela Espinosa is a 20-year-old student in her third semester of the Mechatronics program at the Tec de Monterrey Campus in Cuernavaca. She is about 1,7m tall and has brown wavy hair. Dani (her nickname) is a nice young girl who always takes care of her team. She is a former member of the high school robotics competition Lebotics Team and a current member of Iktan Roving as a pilot and team leader. Unfortunately, she is shy and doesn't like to be photographed.

User Rating: / 2
Student reports - 2022 - Artemis 1

Launch Briefing

28.8.2022, Cosma Heckel

Today was the last day before the launch of the Artemis I mission, so everything was done that we didn't manage to do until now.

We got up at 8am today, packed all our stuff and left our vacation home at around 10am. Since the prices for hotels rise to unbelievable heights during the Artemis launch-window, we didn't have any accommodation for the launch-night. Nevertheless, to store our luggage safely, we drove to the vacation home of our team from Mexico, which is located far inland.


Arriving at the apartment (11am), the three from Mexico who were sleeping there had only just gotten up, being tired from all the extra preparation and travel. We stored the suitcases and waited for David (professor at TEC Monterrey), his students and then our members Alina Santander and Valeria Zafra. We filled the time with team building tasks and writing our reports.

Ken, a teacher from Washington City Schools and our friend, arrived around 1pm, while Alina joined us an hour later. Thus, Ken, Alina, Arthur and I drove together to the Titusville Mall to check the three of them in for the launch. To get there, we rode in Ken's Tesla Model 3, which is already 5 years old, but drives like a new car due to regular updates. This way, the aging of the driving performance is bypassed. I think that is a very sustainable solution.

When we arrived at the check-in at around 14:30, Ken and Alina had got their tickets without any problems, but Arthur had a little problem. However, this cleared up over the course of the day.

Our plan for tonight was to have a seafood dinner, after all our team members had arrived, to toast the launch and receive the briefing at the same time.

So, on the way back, we made a quick stop at Shiloh's Seafood Bar to reserve a few tables. Unfortunately, it was not possible to do so. We returned to Abraham's AIRBNB at around 4:00 pm, the same time as David and his students.

Finally, we were complete and could really get to know each other for the first time. It was very cool to finally meet everyone in person now, as we did many things together during this short evening. Since there was no room at Shiloh´s, pizza came for everyone at around 18:00. To be honest, this was a good replacement as it still allowed us to sit together and catch up.


After Valeria, the last missing team member, had arrived, the launch briefing could begin.
During this briefing, we discussed the procedures, the facts and the events that would be coming up in less than 12 hours. Ralf gave us a review of how all of this was able to be made possible and how much effort and accomplishment it took from everyone. With this launch, we are honoring all those who gave their lives to spaceflight. No matter on which continent or which country, they have accomplished great things and are an inspiration to many others.

In the briefing, we also assigned tasks to all of the team members. These included cameramen, interviewers, reporters, social media managers and photographers. These activities were each briefly rehearsed and everyone's priorities were set.

Lastly, Ralf presented the products of the last 2 years. During Corona, of the people present here, Valeria and Abraham were in Germany. Together we reconstructed and sprayed the Starship, modified the Mini Buggy with 3D parts and celebrated 50 years of Apollo 11.

To top it off, David and his students brought our merch. They were white t-shirts , printed with our mission logo. Dressed, we were not only a team, but also looked like one.


It was 9pm when the briefing was over. At 12 we planned to set off. That’s why we used the time until then to rest and get some sleep.

I went out to lie down on the terrace. It was raining. With a blanket, I made myself comfortable on the sofa, despite the almost 30 degrees. The rain was merely falling on the roof and I thought about all the things that were about to change. Back to the moon! It is like on the eve of the 21st of December 1968. I thought about many things, but again and again I came to the conclusion: many doors were going to open, doors that we should keep open, in contrast to the first return from the moon. The thousands of thoughts in my head were slowly drowned out by the sound of the rain and I fell asleep.


At 12, everyone was woken up. Long pants and shirts were put on. Everyone got into the car, packed with provisions. Exactly as discussed. Nobody said anything, because they themselves could not believe what was to come after getting out of the car. The engine started, the door closed, and we drove off.



The calm before the start

27.8.2022, Cosma Heckel

It was already half past 9 when I woke up, went to the kitchen and made myself some breakfast. Everyone had gotten up shortly before.

At around 2pm, 3 Mexican students arrived, who were also part of our group. So, we used the time until then to complete reports or do more paperwork. Jesco, Tara and Yvonne went to the beach and enjoyed the warm water. Arthur, Ralf and I continued to prepare.

When we got the news that they were now at the Titusville Mall at 1 pm, we got right into the car. During the 45 minute drive, Abraham, Ian and Turner checked in at the NASA-Admission.

The reunion with Abraham made all of us very happy, but likewise it was great to get to meet Ian and Turner.

Since the three hadn´t seen everything that we had seen before, we went on a little sightseeing tour. We visited the huge Blue Origin complex, the Kennedy Space Center, the SLS rocket that will fly to the moon the day after tomorrow, and the Redstone rocket.

Afterwards, we drove to our apartment, unloaded the suitcases and had a great reunion, because now also Yvonne, Tara and Jesco could welcome Abraham. Right after that we went to the beach two blocks away, so that the three could properly arrive for the first time. It was cloudy, but still tropically warm. The salt water of the Atlantic Ocean had a temperature of at least 30 degrees, so we took our time. After a few rounds of rugby and an attempt at surfing on a skimbord, we headed back home.

We now took the three to their apartment with a quick stop at Walmart to buy them mobile hotspot. After setting up the hotspot and visiting the apartment, Yvonne, Arthur and I drove back to our location.

Before that, some nice people on the beach had told us that there should be algae in the water tonight, which would glow blue. Unfortunately, this was not the case :( Let's see if it works tomorrow.

With that, the day had come to an end. I am already curious about tomorrow:)




Welcome to Cocoa Beach!

26.08.2022, Cosma Heckel

Someone shakes me gently. I turn on my other side and bury myself in the pillow. "Get up," it sounds softly. I sighed, lifted my head and opened my eyes, but squeezed them right shut again. It was bright. The sunlight was shining into our room, making it glow brightly. I got up and changed my clothes.

It was already 9:30 a.m. Everyone was in the living room, with homemade hot dogs in their hands. That was our breakfast for today, so I took one too. Then we got into the car and drove off. Today is the first day in Coca Beach, so we will have a look at the area after Corona and see what all has changed.


But first we drove to our future hotel, where we will sleep after the start. It has a beautiful outdoor area with pool, bar and beach. On the tour, we discovered a small mural depicting the launch of a Soyuz. This was very surprising, but also nice to see, as Korolyov also developed it.


We continued to Pier 1, which is located directly on Cocoa Beach. The sun was shining strongly, the air was humid. Hard to bear for a long time. The beach is large and grey-white, the sea winds warm and humid. Seagulls fly by now and then, looking for a few crabs.

Yvonne, Tara, Arthur, Jesco and I walked onto the pier and had a quick look around, as we had to go straight on. However, we will have more time to look at the beach later in the day.  Past dollar shops, Fish&Chips restaurants, Tesla Chargers, mangrove forests and swamps, we drove straight to Titusville along the highway. It's funny how much space there is here. Everything is built and laid out on a large scale.

After about 20 min we passed the Blue Origin base, on to the Kennedy Space Center. The turn-off is marked by a big KSC logo, but it's all the more recognizable because of the ticket and vehicle control, which looks like a crawler transporter (transports the rockets to the launch site).cAfter a few group photos we drove on and stopped at the Atlantis Museum. There was a replica of the Redstone rocket. Its 83 feet high, weighs 33 tons and flies on alcohol & liquid oxygen.  It flew the first US manned/ballistic space mission with Alan Shepard. In the process, she released the first US satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit. Thus, Alan Shepard is the American Gagarin. As we drove by, we spotted a space shop with a homemade SLS rocket. It was amazingly well built. After a short visit to the shop, we moved on.

Kennedy Space Center

We went to the Titusville Mall. In this mall you can find the registration for the Artemis launch. We were warmly welcomed and directed to Lynn Dotson and her colleague. Lynn works at NASA STEM-Stars and also has various tasks during the launch preparations. She also knows the head of HERC, which is a very cool coincidence. We will see her again at Banana Creek, our viewing point during the launch.

We checked in and got all the necessary information and materials regarding the launch. Among them: a badge, several magazines talking about the SLS rocket, stickers and patches + a small Orion capsule. Plus, access cards for the Kennedy Space Centre complex and more.   So, we had everything we needed. Now nothing could go wrong, except for the things we aren´t in control of.

Our next stop was Shiloh's bar. This grill restaurant provides a great view of the launch site 39b and the VAB. There we enjoyed a delicious and late lunch, as it was already 4pm. In between it rained heavily and thundered very loudly.

The last stop of the day was Walmart. This is a typical supermarket in the USA. There we bought supplies for the next days and especially for the launch.

This day ended with a visit to the beach in 30 degree water temperature, which was very pleasant by the way. I am already looking forward to tomorrow!




The first trip in 2 years
25.08.2022, Cosma Heckel

It was 1:20 o´clock when we arrived at the Berlin airport (BER).

We quickly got our suitcases from the car. Tara, Arthur, Jesco and I made sure they were secured while Ralf parked the car where it could stay for the next two weeks. The night air was pleasantly fresh and the night brightly lit. At first, I was astonished by the airport. Especially because I had not seen one for 2 years. There were still 3 hours until check-in. Tara, Arthur, Jesco and I used this time to explore the newly opened airport. I was surprised by the modernity of the general layout, especially because the construction of the airport had been delayed very often.

Jesco was able to get some sleep, which was unfortunately no longer possible after 4:30, because the check-in opened. The big suitcases were given to the airline, while we went to the security check together with our hand luggage. There, everything went well and only 10 min later we sat in a café and ate some breakfast. I chose a chocolate croissant. Since Ralf had taken a plane earlier, we had to say a quick goodbye.

We still had an hour, during which we slowly made our way to our gate. I used this time window to record the first part of the video blog.

At 8, boarding finally began. It felt like déjà vu as we walked along the plane's jet bridge. I can't even count many times I've done this before anymore. The pilot and co-pilot stood politely at the cockpit greeting each passenger. The pilot of our first flight introduced himself as Matthias, he was a very nice man. Following down the long corridor, Tara, Jesco and I made our way to row 16, with Arthur and Yvonne sitting directly behind us.


After 30 minutes, the plane began to move and just as it positioned itself to the flight path, it was silent. The turbines started and the plane slowly began to move. The engines became louder and louder, and the plane began to vibrate. At that moment Jesco turned to me, looked at me and said: "Here we go!“ Seconds later after reaching the required speed we slowly took off. A glow spread across Jesco's face, and he wasn't the only one. So, the AIRBUS A320NEO JET had taken off and was flying towards Munich. The flight lasted less than 55 minutes. However, we were still able to use it to get some sleep. Next stop: Munich

After Arriving in Munich, we first went through passport control. This also went very fast.
However, it got a little trickier after that, because Munich airport is much larger than the one in Berlin. Nevertheless, we found our gate, H14, without any problems. Now it was time to wait once again. We used the time to get some sleep, use the restrooms and to look around.
Eventually, our flight documents were checked again, until finally 11:55 the boarding for the flight UA-160 began.

We boarded the Boing 767-300/300ER. A large aircraft with 2 outside and 3 middle seats per row. This time Jesco and I stopped in row 24 and stowed our carry-on luggage. By now we have already remembered how that works




Day 0
24.08.2022, Cosma Heckel


The engine is humming, golden lights stretch along the horizon. We are driving 120 on the highway, all six of us in the minibus.

The dark blue sky , adorned with many bright dots, stretches from horizon to horizon. Hard to believe that one of them could be the Orion capsule in a few days. Today is day zero. Starting today, a journey begins, all the way to the moon and back. But before the largest and heaviest rocket worldwide takes off and flies to the moon, we first travel to America.

It is 10:32 as I look at my smartphone and rub my eyes, still sleepy from the last online preparations and the almost 5 hours of sleep. Moments later, thoughts flash into my head of things that should better have been done yesterday. Packing the luggage. That’s why Jesco´s, followed by my suitcase stood in front of the car around 12 o'clock. Now that the "big things" were done, it was time for the small things, which honestly took most of our time.

We had to pack cameras, charge their batteries and put them into our luggage. This selection was made up of 2 GoPros, three reflex cameras and a 360 degree cam. With that, capturing the rocket launch on camera is already assured;)

Next, Jesco and I got the task of packing 40 Star-ship rockets with all of its accessories. After counting them multiple times, they were complete, carefully stored and ready for takeoff.
Probably the coolest task on my checklist today was assembling a mini-rover. This model replicates, with a 1:10 ratio, the current rover that we use for training of my team, the Rovernauts.

It was already 21:30 when we quickly ate dinner and finally sat in the minibus (23:30). All six of us. After 2 hours we finally arrived at the BER. Now the adventure begins!

Jetzt Spenden! Das Spendenformular wird von bereit gestellt.
Google transl.