Press Release

Challenger Center Excites Communities About Space Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
June 1, 2014
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Challenger Center Excites Communities About Space Exploration

Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center) in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) and the NASA Planetary Science Division will host a series of events in support of NASA’s journey of scientific discovery of our Solar System’s content, origin, evolution and the potential for life elsewhere. The community-focused programs will take place during the months of May and June at 10 Challenger Learning Centers across the country.

“We’re thrilled to bring our Centers another opportunity to reach into their communities and make an impact,” said Dr. Lance Bush, president and CEO, Challenger Center. “The activities our Centers have planned not only engage children in important STEM subject areas, but also share our excitement about NASA’s current and upcoming programs and initiatives.”

To be chosen as a host location, Challenger Center reviewed applications from close to 20 Centers

outlining their specific plans for a potential event. Once selected, each Center focused its planning around one of three themes: New Worlds – New Discoveries, I’m the Mars Generation, or Eyes on Earth. Centers participated in virtual professional development trainings hosted by NIA to help prepare for the events and to learn about different resource and hands-on activities available to incorporate into their special day.

The events at the 10 different Challenger Learning Centers will offer STEM-enriched activities to a variety of audiences and age groups, including children, parents and teachers. In addition to program-specific activities, the Centers can utilize the knowledge learned during the training sessions to enhance existing initiatives.

Challenger Learning Centers participating in the collaboration, include:

New Worlds – New Discoveries
Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky (Hazard, KY) – May 17 (event complete)
Challenger Learning Center at Discovery Museum and Science Center (Sacramento, CA) – June 7
Challenger Learning Center at the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, CA) – June 7

Eyes on Earth
Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College (Normal, IL) – June 7
Challenger Learning Center at The Discovery Museum (Bridgeport, CT) – June 14 
Challenger Learning Center of Maine (Bangor, ME) – June 19

I’m the Mars Generation!
Challenger Learning Center of Lake Erie West (Oregon, OH) – May 31 
Town of Ramapo Challenger Learning Center (Airmont, NY) – June 1 
Buehler Challenger & Science Center (Paramus, NJ) – June 7 
Texas State Technical College Challenger Learning Center (Harlingen, TX) – June 21

About Challenger Center for Space Science Education 
Using space exploration as a theme and simulation as a vehicle, Challenger Center and its international network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, foster long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspire students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Learning Centers across the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students and 40,000 educators each year through simulated space missions, educational programs, teacher workshops and much more. Founded in 1986, Challenger Center was created to honor the seven astronauts of shuttle flight STS-51-L: Commander Dick ScobeeGregory Jarvis,Christa McAuliffeRonald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Michael J. Smith. For more information visit

About the National Institute of Aerospace
The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) is a non-profit research and graduate education institute created to conduct innovative aerospace research, develop new technologies for the nation and help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.  NIA was formed by a consortium of leading research universities. Members include: Georgia TechHampton UniversityNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityNorth Carolina State University, the University of Maryland, the University of VirginiaVirginia TechOld Dominion University, the College of William & Mary and the AIAA Foundation.  For more information, visit

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SpaceRef staff editor.