The SkyLab Innovation Center on the Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) campus partnered with Higher Orbits in early September, to provide high school students the opportunity to explore and discover the Aerospace STEM and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields through the Go For Launch! Program. This program used space exploration to gain student involvement in aerospace STEM and STEM, while providing the chance for young aviators to become better citizens with advanced life and leadership skills.
Several experts including, Nicole Stott, Michelle Lucas, William MacKunis, and Amber M. Paul, PhD., of aerospace STEM and STEM fields illustrated the numerous possibilities that exist within the aerospace and aviation industries. Nicole Stott is a veteran of 2 spaceflights and 104 days living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS). Michelle Lucas spent 10+ years working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. First as part of the International Space Station (ISS) Payload Safety Review Panel (PSRP) and then in the Mission Operations Directorate as a Flight Controller in ISS Mission Control and as an Astronaut Instructor in the ISS Daily Operations Group.
Dr. MacKunis is currently an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator for Engineering Physics at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. He has extensive experience with control system engineering for mechanical and aerospace systems and dynamics and control of fluid flow systems. His work has been recognized by NASA, NSF, and by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Award (2011-2013). Dr. Amber Paul is currently a co-Investigator on a NASA’s Human Research Program funded grant and is affiliated with NASA ARC as a Visiting Scholar through Blue Marble Space Institute of Sciences (BMSIS). Other partners who participated in this event include: SUN ‘n FUN volunteers, CFAA student volunteers, and collegiate partners from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and Polk State College.
Students, as ACE Youth Aviators, were divided in to five teams who each worked toward daily objectives with a final presentation to define and design their own space experiment over the course of two days. These students also developed team patches and names. The first of five teams to present was Phalanx, and their presentation was focused on the development of a different water filtration system that could be useful in space at the International Space Station. Second of five teams was Andromeda, and their presentation was regarding what the effects of microgravity can have on radiation-resistant bacteria.
Third of five teams was BPLG, and their presentation presented what the effects of space would have on RadWorms. The fourth team was Lunar B.E.L.T, and their presentation regarded what the effects of space would have on Aqua Gen bacteria. The Fifth team was Star, and their presentation was focused on what the problems of having food on board the ISS and how they will travel. Andromeda was selected as the experiment that will continue on the competition process to compete against other projects from the same division. That winning experiment will be launched in to space. This unique and memorable experience inspired over 34 students from across the country.
Michelle Lucas states, “Higher Orbits is over the moon to have partnered with the Aerospace Center for Excellence to run the first ever Go For Launch! Lakeland September 11-12. We had the opportunity to work with stellar students from the community and beyond along with Astronaut Nicole Stott. Teams were engaged in STEM, Leadership, Teamwork, and Communication skills and had a blast! We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work in the Lakeland community.” As ACE’s Skylab Innovation Center continues to provide learning opportunities, if you are interested in ACE or any of its’ educational components contact the Dean of Academic Affairs & Museum Sciences, Robin Kirk, at Rkirk@flysnf.org or ACE Executive Director, Daryl Price, at DPrice@flysnf.org.