Whitby teenager blasts off
A Whitby teenager is blasting off to space camp next month.
Jack Davies beat 200 applicants to win a spot at the European Space Camp in Norway.
It’s a dream come true for the 17-year-old, who said he was looking forward to meeting other people his age with similar interests.
‘‘I don’t know many other young people in this country who are interested in what I do.
‘‘It’s going to be great to spend time with them,’’ he said.
The space camp is in Andoya, which is famous for the aurora – or northern lights – and the area will be experiencing 24 hours of daylight when the students visit.
Students will spend a week in the life of a rocket scientist and tackle their own rocket launch as well as hearing some of Europe’s leading scientists speak on various things space related.
Jean Davies said her son had always loved rockets and that she was used to strange appearances of rocket material in her home.
‘‘Recently we had rocket fins baking in the oven to set the paint on them.
‘‘I’m also quite used to having a rocket parked in the garage,’’ she said.
Jack has launched more than 100 rockets and last year broke the record for the largest amateur rocket launched in New Zealand.
He built the rocket and named it The Marsden, after his school, Samuel Marsden Whitby.
Jack is in his last year at college and said his worst subject was English.
‘‘I tend to hurry through my classes to get back to rocket building,’’ he said.
Jack said he would not describe himself as an overachiever, but did admit he might be a bit different to other teenagers.
He spent the school holidays learning to fly a plane and has College in completed a three-hour flight on his own.
He holds a restricted car licence, but thinks flying planes is much easier than learning to drive.
‘‘You don’t have to stay out of anyone’s way up in the sky.’’
Jack said he planned to study mechanical engineering next year at Canterbury University and hoped to eventually work for NASA.
‘‘My dream is to go into space one day.’’
Jack Davies, centre, blue shirt, and helpers carry the record-breaking rocket Marsden.