Monday, December 10, 2018

The AstroNuts Kids' Space Club is Relocating to Calgary

          By Henry Stewart

One of the most effective and sensible organizations currently advocating for Canadian space activities and the science technology engineering and math (STEM) background needed to support those accomplishments, the AstroNuts Kids' Space Club is pulling up its Newmarket ON roots and relocating to Calgary.

Members of the 2014 AstroNuts Kids' Space Club at the Orlan Space Suit display on the trade show floor of 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2014), which took place from September 29th - October 3rd, 2014 in Toronto ON. From left to right are AstroNuts Ray Bielecki, Tim Fowler (wearing a blue shirt in back), Jack Fallows (wearing the orange jumpsuit in front), Brett Bielecki, Jessica Hunter, Jacob Fowler (wearing the Orlon Soviet space suit), Josiah Harris, Brandon Palos and Tom Harris.  Photo c/o Chuck Black.

According to organizer Ray Bielecki, "thank you for all your enthusiasm and support of the AstroNuts Kids Space Club …it's been a great run and its definitely picking up where it left off, very soon."

Bielecki will be moving west to Calgary AB "by early May in 2019" after he retires from the CBC, where he has worked for the last twenty-five years.

He's found a lot of interest in opening up a new AstroNuts chapter after he's settled into his new home and expects to find many new "individuals, organizations and companies that are interested in me bringing my passion and love of space, science and education to their workplace."

For the last eight years, thousand of children have attended monthly missions aboard his home-built "Mercury One" and "Mercury Two" spaceships or participated in the larger, annual AstroNut Kids' Space Day Camps and STEM Contests, which were held in different locations and as part of a variety of other unique activities.

The AstroNuts website also includes dozens of in-house and skype educators who assisted with the program. They included York University astronomy professor Paul Delaney, Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald, CBC Newsworld meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe along with a multitude of Canadian and international scientists and astronauts.

During the annual AstroNut Space Camps, British astronaut Tim Peake talked to the kids “live” from the International Space Station (ISS) and Canadian icon Chris Hadfield skyped in for a chat.

The 2018 class of the AstroNut Kids' include (from left to right) Danica Keeler, Alayna Keeler, Violet Bristow, David Tran, Danial Balugas, Stan Taylor, Benji Ho, Mitchell Bruni, William Duncan, Ray Bielecki, Josiah Harris, Tim Harris, Aevaha Arun, Ryan Marciniak and Anthony Skorik. Photo c/o Ray Bielecki.

The AstroNuts were first organized into a club eight years ago by Bielecki, along with his then seven year old son Brett, in order to learn "about all things space." The club was first noted here in the June 25th, 2011 post, "'Astronut' Brett at NASA for Final Shuttle Launch."

A new space club will starting up in February 2019 in Uxbridge ON called the “Kids Space Club.” Its founder is "Scientist Stan” Taylor and many of the Ontario based members of the current AstroNut Kids' will be joining.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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