The Challenger Learning Center program offers school groups a broad, enriching experience involving math, science, technology, critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. It is here that students become scientists and astronauts, solving real-life problems as they share the thrill of discovery on missions through our Solar System.
Other groups such as boy scouts and girl scouts, 4-H clubs, or church youth groups can also benefit by participating in a mission. Teams work collaboratively to make decisions, solve problems, and communicate mission results during their flight.
Full Crew Missions
Full Crew Missions are designed for grades 4 – 8 and require a minimum of 16 students. Only CLC-trained teachers may bring their classes for a Full Crew Mission. Teachers are expected to do some pre-mission activities with their students to help prepare them for the best experience possible.
Each class is divided into two groups, with half of the students assigned to Mission Control while the others are transported to a Spacecraft modeled after America’s first space station, Skylab. At the mission's midpoint, the crews exchange places so every student can experience both learning environments.
The simulation provides students with numerous opportunities to apply the skills they've learned in the classroom. Even when they aren't necessarily aware that they're doing so, students are using principles of science and mathematics, as well as reading and communications skills, to complete their mission.
- Full-Crew Mission: Voyage to Mars
The time: late 21st Century. After six months en route, the Mars-Earth Transport vehicle has just entered Martian Air Space. The Spacecraft brings a crew that will live on Mars for at least two years and takes back the crew that is currently working in Mars Control. Control of the incoming flight has been transferred from Johnson Space Center in Houston to Mars Control at Chryse Station. Thus far this has been a normal approach, but events on Mars will soon make this particular landing very hazardous. Appropriate for grades 5 – 8. Maximum of 34 participants. Fees charged.
- Full-Crew Mission: Rendezvous with a Comet
In the not-too-distant future, a team of scientists and engineers are serving as astronauts and mission controllers on a daring exploration of comets. Their goal is to successfully plot a course to rendezvous with a comet and launch a probe to collect scientific data on the object. The small, maneuverable spacecraft used for these rendezvous missions require lots of maintenance and care, providing plenty of challenges for the crew. What may seem to be a routine exploration is sprinkled with lots of surprises and emergencies, giving students first-hand insight into teamwork and problem solving. Appropriate for grades 5 – 8. Maximum of 34 participants. Fees charged.
Full-Crew Mission: Return to the Moon
The year is 2020. For the first time since 1972, a crew of astronauts is returning to the Moon. This time, they plan to stay. The mission begins with a spacecraft ready to lift off from Earth. The astronauts on board the spacecraft will leave Earth orbit and travel to the space station to replace the current crew. The space station crew has been training to go to the Moon and establish a lunar base. During the mission, students must analyze a variety of data gathered from the lunar surface to help them select the best possible site to build a permanent Moon base for NASA. Appropriate for grades 4 – 5. Maximum of 30 participants. Fees charged.
A junior mission is an interactive, hands-on simulated space mission in which participants assume the roles and duties of the astronaut crew. Just like real astronauts, the crew will read and follow directions to successfully complete their mission. The 90-minute Junior Mission program includes some hands-on team-building activities prior to the actual mission and is designed for small groups.
In the Voyage to Mars® scenario, participants have been chosen by NASA to be the very first humans to travel to Mars. And even though the mission has been carefully planned, unforeseen dangers could pose a threat to the crew.
Appropriate for grades 4 – 9. Maximum of 14 participants. Fees charged.
This is a newer 20-minute program designed with younger students in mind. A gas leak has been detected aboard the space station, and NASA has evacuated the crew. Now a highly trained Emergency Response Team (ERT) of astronauts must travel to the station and help identify the gas. NASA and the rest of the world are depending on them!
Appropriate for grades K – 3. Maximum of 20 participants. Fees charged.