Nicole Cameron has calculated how far away she will be from Tauranga when she goes to space camp.

"We will be away the equivalent to 8½ times the length of New Zealand," she said.

The Otumoetai College student was selected by the Royal Society Te Apārangi to attend the European Space Camp at the Andoya Space Centre in northern Norway in August.

Nicole will spend a week in the life of a scientist and tackle a problem relating to the rocket launch alongside Whakatane's Trident High School student Jack Nelson.


The pair will hear European lecturers talk about rocket physics, the work of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research - known as Cern - and the northern lights.

Rocket system design, experimental Instrumentation, payload, rocket telemetry and rocket physics will also be covered at space camp.

The 17-year-old applied for the international camp after learning of the opportunity at Royal Society Te Apārangi's science events late last year.

Nicole was shocked when she found out she was accepted. "I had given them the wrong email address, so they texted me to say I hadn't responded and that I had been accepted," she said.

She was looking forward to working with people from around the world and increasing her knowledge of rocket launches.

"I have always been interested in space," she said. "I have figured out how to attach my camera to my telescope, so I have been playing around with astrophotography."

Nicole intends to study a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Canterbury next year with a focus on aerospace engineering .

The teenager said she was the keenest in her family on astronomy - but they all enjoyed her spouting random facts.


"So do I and all of my nerdy friends," she said. "I am really into astronomy, maths, physics and science at school."

The Talented School Students Travel Award, administered by Royal Society Te Apārangi and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, will pay 70 per cent of the students' travel and registration fees.

Nicole said Otumoetai College had donated some funds towards her trip and she hoped to approach the local Lions Club for help.

Royal Society Te Apārangi chief executive Andrew Cleland said space camp was an opportunity for talented young New Zealanders to interact with experts.

"It is also an occasion for students to meet other like-minded students from around the world and to share their passion for space but also learn about their cultural differences."

What is the Royal Society Te Apārangi?
- Advances and promotes research and scholarly activity, the pursuit of knowledge.
- Its Act talks about science, technology and humanities. In practice, that includes engineering, applied science, and social sciences; and effectively the pursuit of knowledge in general.
- Fosters a culture that supports science, technology and the humanities by raising public awareness, knowledge and understanding, and advancing education.