Press Release

NASA Glenn Hosts 17th Annual Young Astronaut Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
November 5, 2009
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NASA Glenn Hosts 17th Annual Young Astronaut Challenge

CLEVELAND — Three hundred and fifty students from 30 local schools and youth organizations to participate in NASA Glenn Research Center’s 17th annual Young Astronaut Day on Saturday, Nov. 7, beginning at 10 a.m.

The day is filled with hands-on activities and competitions that are intended to stimulate an interest in aeronautics, space science and engineering.

NASA astronaut Sunita L. Williams will start the students on their way with a special presentation and a day filled with exciting engineering and scientific challenges in the Development Engineering Building Auditorium.

Williams, a native of Cleveland, served as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station. She completed four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes of extravehicular activity. In addition she broke the existing record by Shannon Lucid, setting a new record for females of 195 days in space. Williams currently serves as Deputy Chief in the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Students in grades 1-6 will become “pilots” for the day and compete in many activities, and experience how difficult it is to perform simple tasks while working in space.

The “pilots” will develop further creative thinking and problem solving skills in a Canstruction project building a replica of NASA’s Mercury-Atlas Launch Vehicle from thousands of food cans. Mercury-Atlas was used to send Astronaut John Glenn’s spacecraft, Friendship 7, into orbit. The cans will later be donated to the Cleveland Food Bank.

Students in grades 7-12 will become “commanders” for the day and also compete in several activities, including operating a planetary rover in the Rover Operations Challenge and building a rocket-powered drag racer for the Aerodynamic Drag Challenge.

Young Astronaut Day is sponsored by Glenn and the Northern Ohio section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Media interested in covering this event must be cleared through security. Please call Jeannette Owens at 216-433-2990, Sally Harrington at 216-433-2037 or the Media Relations Office at 216-433-8921.

Participating Schools

  • Bay Village–Bay Village Middle School
  • Berea–Academy of St. Adalbert School
  • Brook Park–Ford Middle School
  • Bryan–St. Patrick Elementary and Middle School
  • Cleveland–Birchwood School
  • Fairlawn–Our Lady of the Elms High School
  • Lorain–Frank Jacinto: Pre-Engineering School
  • Mentor–Shore Middle School
  • Middleburg Heights–Midpark High School
  • Parma–Parma Heights Christian Academy
  • Rocky River–Magnificent High School
  • Sheffield–Sheffield Middle School
  • University Heights–GESU Catholic Elementary School
  • Westerville–Edison Academy

Participating Organizations

  • Avon–Boy Scout Troop 333 and Girl Scout Troop 50882
  • Chagrin Falls–Brownie Troop 1401 and Girl Scout Troop 1394
  • Cleveland–Civil Air Patrol, 236th Composite Squadron, Lakefront Thunderbirds
  • South Euclid-Lyndhurst–Girl Scout Troop 794
  • Strongsville–Brownie Troop 661 and Daisy Troop 7188

Participating Teams

  • Green–Green Bulldogs
  • Oberlin–Oberlin Rockets and Oberlin Comets

SpaceRef staff editor.