Space Mission Simulator
The Challenger Learning Center’s Space Mission Simulator offers visitors the next best thing to actual space flight with a Mission Control room designed after NASA Johnson Space Center and an orbiting space station modeled after the laboratory on the International Space Station. During a space mission, team members work as scientists and engineers.
Onboard astronauts in the Space Station Simulator work with their counterparts in the Mission Control Simulator to fly one of our simulated space missions. These simulations provide plenty of challenges for the crews in space and on the ground. From kindergarteners to adult groups, space mission simulations can be tailored for your group* for field trips, birthday parties, corporate team building, family reunions and much more!
*A minimum of nine people are required for a space mission simulation.*
TINY EXPLORERS FOR AGES 3-5
The Tiny Explorers program is for our early learners ages 3-5. Two programs are available: Space themed activities and viewing One World, One Sky in our Downtown Digital Dome or Light and shadow activities and viewing In My Backyard in our Downtown Digital Dome. You can choose between a two hour program at the CLC that features hands-on activities and the dome show ($10 per students, $200 minimum for up to 40 students) or our off-site program where we come to you. The off-site option features one and a half hours of hands-on activities and demonstrations and each student will also receive a ticket to come see a show in our Downtown Digital Dome ($15 student, $200 minimum for up to 40 students)!
SPACE MISSION SIMULATIONS FOR GRADES K-4
The Space Mission Simulator is the perfect setting for K-4 students to suspend their disbelief and travel to space for a mission. During the K-1 “Mars Explorer” mission students use simple words and pictures to achieve their mission. The “Asteroid Explorer” mission for 2-3rd graders uses beginner reading vocabulary and easy to follow directions. Fourth graders become “Comet Explorers” and have a blast doing hands-on activities about working in space. All missions include standards-based, STEM activities. All programs feature a grade-level appropriate planetarium show with a “pre-show” by one of our instructors in the Downtown Digital Dome.
In all missions, on-board astronauts in the spacecraft simulator conduct science experiments related to a space theme. A two-hour program for up to 44 students is $350 and includes 30 minutes in the spacecraft simulator and one 30 minute hands-on activity and a planetarium show. A three-hour program for up to 66 students is $500 and includes 40 minutes in the spacecraft simulator, two 40 minute hands-on activities and a planetarium show.
Mars Explorers (K – 1st grade)
During the spacecraft simulation, students blast off from the “Red Planet” and launch in to space to do science experiments before launching CubeSats to the moons of Mars. An additional activity to build a paper model of the Space Launch System is available in the 3 hour program.
Asteroid Explorers (2nd – 3rd grade)
Modeled after NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission to the asteroid Bennu, students travel to the asteroid to collect a sample using the TAGSAM (Touch and Go Sample Arm Mechanism) while in space to do hands-on science activities. Includes building a paper model of the Atlas V rocket used in the mission. An additional activity to build a model TAGSAM is available in the 3 hour program.
Comet Explorers (4th grade)
Honor the Challenger 51L crew and continue their mission to study Comet Halley. In the spacecraft, student astronauts build and launch a probe to gather data on the comet. Problem solving skills are necessary as new events occur that can change their mission. A space science demo is included. An additional build of a LEGO model Saturn V rocket is available in the 3 hour program.
SPACE MISSION SIMULATIONS FOR GRADES 5 AND UP
The Space Mission Simulator offers the next best thing to actual space flight with a Mission Control room and an orbiting Spacecraft laboratory. During a simulation, students work together as astronauts, scientists and engineers to complete one of six scenarios outlined below. What often seems to be a routine exploration becomes filled with exciting challenges and emergencies.
A two-hour mission (flown in both Mission Control and Spacecraft) is $400 for up to 32 students and includes teacher in-service training, classroom curriculum materials and follow-up activities. One-hour mini-missions are available for $250 for up to 16 students that are flown only in the Spacecraft.
Rendezvous with a Comet (Grades 5-7)
Embark on a mission to Rendezvous with Comet Encke and send a probe to gather data on the comet. Students must use their problem solving skills to determine if the mission should continue as planned or if a different course of events is necessary. Educator Guide
Return to the Moon (Grades 6 and up)
For the first time since 1972, a crew of astronauts is returning to the Moon. Their mission is to establish a permanent base for Earth observation and determining whether off-Earth settlements are possible. The goal is for teams to work together and ensure a safe lunar arrival. Educator Guide
Expedition Mars (Grades 6 and up)
Set in the future where humans have Mission Control established on the Martian Moon Phobos, Spacecraft astronauts are on a scheduled mission from Phobos to the surface of Mars to search for water and evidence of life. They find themselves in a high-risk situation that could jeopardize the mission and must work together to solve the problems…. Educator Guide
Voyage to Mars (Grades 7 and up)
Imagine it is the year 2076. A crew of astronauts has been living and doing research at Chryse Station on Mars for the last two years. The replacement crew has been on a 9 month journey to Mars to replace the existing crew of astronauts and continue their mission. Educator Guide
Lunar Quest (Grades 8 and up)
Astronauts on Moon Base Alpha and the crew of the Orion spacecraft work together to mine, maintain, and expand the lunar colony. However, some scouting locations could be more dangerous than others….since both are closed-loop environments in space, both teams could experience exciting challenges! Educator Guide
Earth Odyssey (Grades 9 and up)
Contact has been lost with the Earth Observing System satellites. Mission Control engineers and an astronaut crew aboard the International Space Station must work together to resume study of the Earth and better understand the changes that are occurring in the atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere.
SPACE MISSION SIMULATIONS FOR ADULT TEAM BUILDING
Space travel is for all ages at the Challenger Learning Center! Become engineers and astronauts in our Mission Control room designed after NASA Johnson Space Center and an orbiting space station modeled after the laboratory on the International Space Station. Adult group missions are great for church groups, neighborhood associations, sororities & fraternities, business teams or other civic groups.
Looking for a unique and fun way to boost employee communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills?
Bring your team to the Challenger Learning Center where crew members work as scientists and engineers to fly a simulated space mission in our space station lab and mission control room. The missions are tailored to meet the specific needs of your group.
- Up to 32 adults (2 hours) – $400
- Mini-Mission: Up to 16 adults (1 hour) – $250
Mission Simulator Facilities
The Mission Control component of the Space Mission Simulator is located on the first floor of the Challenger Learning Center and is designed to look and feel like Mission Control at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The “engineers” working in Mission Control must complete their tasks, share information with their “astronaut” classmates in Space Station and direct the “astronauts” to their next task. Most importantly, the “engineers” in Mission Control must maintain constant contact with the “astronauts” aboard Space Station.
Space Station Laboratory
The Space Station component of the Space Mission Simulator is located on the second floor of the Challenger Learning Center and is modeled after the laboratory on the International Space Station. The “astronauts” working in the laboratory node of the Space Station must complete their tasks, share information with their “engineer” classmates in Mission Control and consult with each other to decide on how best to accomplish the goal of the mission. These overall goals vary, depending on which type of mission the class is participating in.