Junior Space School
This is astronaut training for youth and is an engaging hands-on adventure. During a week in Huntsville, Alabama, students learn about the history of space travel and the development of space-related technology in the most motivational surroundings. In small teams, they are lead through several simulated missions where they must work together to visit and repair the international space station or land an exploration rover on Mars.
The students also have a week in Houston touring the Johnson Space Center, NASA’s leading facility. They see the latest technology in development and visit the real Mission Control Center. The Junior Space School program is focused on providing relevance to, and inspiring passion for STEM. While in Houston they also participate in broader ‘earth’ science exploration with activities around marine biology, energy resources, forensics and robotics. It is a highly interactive program. Every step of the way they are guided to build skills in goal setting, project planning and problem solving.
The ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ is the foundation of the Junior program’s personal development. Stephen Covey’s bestselling management book was adapted by his son, Sean Covey, to apply the teachings to teenagers. In interactive sessions Space School students learn these Habits each day, with the opportunity to apply them throughout their expedition, and the encouragement to adopt them in their daily life at home.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Development of critical thinking and problem solving
- Skills in goal setting and project planning to set and achieve targets
- Effectiveness in collaborative teamwork
- Application of STEM in challenging space missions
- Greater initiative, responsibility and leadership through influence
- Curiosity and imagination
- Pursuit of personal values and long-term goals
The Junior Space School Program integrates culture, space, science, medicine and marine life for high impact learning experience. Students will get to know what it takes to become a scientist, flight commander and astronaut by taking part in mission simulator training, interactive projects and inspiring team activities.
The Junior Space Program includes site tours of America’s leading Space Centers in Houston Texas and Huntsville Alabama where students will actively take part in training exercise, simulators and lectures.
This two week program abroad will provide students with critical life skills for personal success through hands on problem based learning, tied with immersive NASA coursework.
Experience astronaut training mission simulators throughout the expedition.
The Junior Space Program has actively partnered with Space Center Houston and several other educational institutes to develop a course that inspires, motivates, and creates a positive learning environment for its students.
Students will have the opportunity to visit prestigious locations across Houston and take part in space mission simulations, scientific experiments and incentive courses.
Throughout the program, students will be encouraged to think independently and propose innovative solutions to problems, which they may encounter.
Visit Prestigious Locations Across Houston and Huntsville
Space Center Houston / NASA Johnson Space CenterVisit Space Centers and learn about the history of space exploration and space science. Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) center for human spaceflight activities. It is a place where students can experience the wonders of space exploration. It’s one of the only places in the world where visitors can touch moon rocks, witness astronauts training and be taken on a behind the scenes tour of NASA.
U.S. Space & Rocket CenterVisit USSRC for astronaut training and to run your own simulated missions. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is a museum operated by the government of Alabama, showcasing rockets, achievements and artifacts of the U.S. space program. The idea for the museum was first proposed by Dr. Wernher von Braun, who led the efforts of the United States to land the first man on the moon. The museum was opened in 1970, just after the second manned mission to the lunar surface. The U.S Space & Rocket Center offers space camps providing students with the opportunity to stay on the grounds and learn more about the space program through in-depth exposure and participation in simulators, lectures and training exercises.
DeBakey Cell LabLearn about the forensic science and take the role of a crime lab investigator.
Texas A&M UniversityLearn in-depth about marine biology and ecology through hands-on shark dissection.
Rice UniversityPersonally visit the location used by President Kennedy to deliver his bold “moon landing speech”.
Wiess Energy HallLearn about the developments in global energy supply at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
NBA / MLBAttend a professional sports game, and learn about sports development and commercial marketing.
Junior Space School Seven Habits
The Junior Space School foundation personal development program is built on the principles from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey.
Students explore the 7Habits with interactive group work. Arranged to first focus on a private victory, students improve personal behaviour through growth and change; before focusing on a public victory building communicative skills for interaction with others.
They learn these principles of personal development and ways to build the Habits into their daily lives – to take on great challenges, achieve their goals and be their best selves.
The personal growth and confidence that Space School students develop is truly inspiring.
© 2008 Franklin Covey Co. All rights reserved.
Location: Houston Texas and Huntsville Alabama USA
Duration: 14 Days
Open to Students: Years 7, 8 and 9
Dates: During Australian school term breaks
Junior Space School Program*
Day 1 – Houston
Students depart Australia for Houston, TX with a flight time of approximately 20-22 hours. On arrival into Houston, students check into their hotel for an initial brief and well-earned rest in readiness for an exciting program.
The scene is set on the first morning in Houston with the official Opening Ceremony, an introduction to the 7 Habits and teambuilding activities. During an afternoon at Rice University, the students visit the stadium where President Kennedy gave his famous speech about travelling to the moon.
Each day the students are energised with the Space School Dance, Morning Quiz and an engaging presentation of the daily Habit sets the right mindset for each day’s activities. Students visit the Texas Medical Education Center and Health Museum to conduct challenging DNA and forensic analysis at the Cell Lab and solve a mystery case at CSI’s Body of Evidence. In the evening students learn the history of space exploration with the Space Race I movie night.
Following the morning Space School activities the expedition sets off to explore the vast facilities of Johnson Space Center, NASA’s headquarters. Students visit Starship Gallery, Apollo Mission Control, Saturn V Rocket and various exhibitions. Movie night continues the space industry evolution with Space Race II.
Morning Space School activities are more involved as groups present the Habits with a focus on application in daily life. Students attend Texas A&M University for an in-depth look at marine biology. The first session discusses marine ecology and conservation before students undertake their own shark dissection.
The group will then enjoy a recreational evening of shopping at the Outlet Mall before returning to the hotel.
Space School activities first thing, then an early return to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre. Students will tour the Astronaut Training Complex and Outer Space Academy, then attend an exclusive lunch or dinner with an astronaut. Following the inspiring presentation, they have chance to ask questions and talk directly to the astronaut.
On the last day in Houston, students are in for a special treat. Another motivational and interactive presentation by a scientist or engineer, with plenty of question time. Followed by an exciting cultural experience attending a live NBA or MLB game, depending on the season.
Day 8 – Huntsville
Goodbye Houston, hello Huntsville! The group departs the hotel to travel to their next destination, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Students check in to the onsite accommodation, meet their crew trainer and tour the Center’s facilities.
After breakfast students get straight into astronaut training at USSRC. They learn about the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Space Programs, design their own mission patch and are briefed on their own upcoming mission. For their next challenge, they head outdoors for a lot of fun; the Area51 teamwork and leadership training course expands their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Later in the day, students receive guidance to begin constructing their own rockets and attend a presentation on Living in Space.
A morning tour and activities in Rocket Park, before students are immersed in their own Apollo Mission. This has them taking on roles, working as a team, and performing tasks to simulate a real space mission. A chance to try the Space Shot trainer simulates the feeling of rocketing into space beyond the earth’s gravitational pull; and scaling the climbing wall, they can imagine they are making their way up the 22km to the summit of Mars’ Olympus Mons.
Rocket construction and testing ready for launch tomorrow. Students will view Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever launched and used in the Apollo 11 mission, which landed man on the moon for the first time. Teams experience first-hand how to work in a neutral buoyancy environment with a complex pool-based team activity. Then, they take a tumble in the Multi-Axis Trainer, designed to simulate disorientation on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.
Today students demonstrate their knowledge, teamwork and leadership skills during their lunar base presentation and their Bravo space mission. They will fine tune, test and then launch their rockets. They have fun with the Manned Manoeuvring Unit, simulating the frictionless environment of outer space, and the 1/6th gravity chair to master a moon walk.
The final expedition day. Today students attend the official graduation ceremony and are awarded with the Space School and USSRC certificates. Students then depart USSRC and head to Huntsville airport for the journey home to Australia.
Expedition completed! With a transit time of approximately 20-22 hours students have time to reflect on their adventure and are farewelled with a closing ceremony at the airport when the group arrives back to Australia.
*Proposed program is subject to change.
- Program cost: Tuition (AUD) inclusive of GST.
- Costs include: Tuition fee, admission to program events, accommodation and meals.
- Costs exclude: Airfares, insurance and personal expenses.
- Accommodation: Three persons to share a room in a 4 star business hotel. The hotel is secure, and has exclusive conference room for Space School class activities.
- Medical doctor arrangements: Doctors from Houston Medical Center.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should consider to join the Junior Space School International Study Program?
Students who are looking for an exciting motivational study program to develop their skills in critical thinking and problem solving, team work, curiosity and imagination. Students who are keen to broaden their horizons with an international experience while having fun and making new friends. Students who are interested in pursuing a science or non-science career path.
Who will be responsible for students while in the US?
Actura Group Managers guide and support students throughout the duration of the program. All Actura Group Managers are diligently selected, then trained and certified to Actura's high standard. They all have first aid qualifications, working with children and police checks. Actura-certified Tour Assistants join each group in the US to assist in the delivery of the course. An accompanying teacher travels with each group to assist with student care and guidance.
Do I need to arrange my own flight and insurance?
All travel and insurance is organised and made available by Actura to provide comprehensive risk management, group airfare tickets and group travel/medical insurance.
Is there a refund policy?
The refund policy including applicable time frames is detailed in the student agreement. For further details and terms and conditions, please refer to the contract.
Will I need much spending money?
All meals, accommodation and transport during the expedition are covered in the program cost. Students will only need pocket money for occasional treats, personal items and for the purchase of souvenir items or postcards.
If I cannot join this time, is the program available in the future?
Actura aims to build long term relationships with schools to offer Space School international study program. This hopefully brings opportunity for future expeditions however the frequency cannot be guaranteed. Program costs may vary due to exchange rate fluctuations and program content modifications.
Do I need to apply for a visa to the USA?
Australia and New Zealand are some of the countries currently participating in the USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program allows citizens of nominated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a special visa. Students with Australian or New Zealand citizenship are required to obtain a travel authorisation prior to travel to the United States; obtained online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), administered by the Department of Homeland Security. Visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta A fee of USD$14 applies.
For all students who are nationals of countries not participating in the Visa Waiver Program, Actura Australia and New Zealand will provide relevant supporting information to assist with the USA Visa application.
Image source: nasa.gov