Press Release

NASA’s Next-Generation Spacecraft to Land at Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center

By SpaceRef Editor
June 24, 2011
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NASA’s Next-Generation Spacecraft to Land at Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center

Challenger Learning Center Hosts the Nation’s New Flagship Spacecraft, NASA Astronauts & Aerospace Engineers to Celebrate the Future of Manned Space Flight

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center) announced today that the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), NASA’s newly developed successor to the Space Shuttle, will be on display June 24 and 25 at the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee, Florida. By hosting the MPCV, the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center offers the public a unique opportunity to meet the people and technologies of NASA’s future space missions. NASA astronauts Charles Hobough and Jeff Williams, who have spent a combined total of nearly 400 days in space, will participate in presentations and Q&A sessions, along with aerospace engineers from NASA and Lockheed Martin, which built the MPCV.

Incorporating the most advanced human spaceflight design and technologies, the MPCV is intended for crewed missions to an asteroid and then to Mars. It also will serve as a backup vehicle for cargo and crewed missions to the International Space Station. Seventeen feet wide, the capsule can support up to four crew members. The spacecraft is on its way by trailer truck from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will also stop at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas.

“Challenger Center’s educational mission was created as a lasting memorial to the educational commitment of the Challenger Space Shuttle and its crew, and we honor the past as we strengthen our nation’s future by embracing and showcasing the next generation of manned space flight and NASA visionary new spacecraft at a Challenger Learning Center,” said Scott Parazynski, chairman of Challenger Center’s board of directors and a former NASA astronaut. “We’re honored that NASA and Lockheed Martin are publicly introducing the MPCV at our Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center. Just as they’re pioneering next-generation space travel, our 48 Challenger Learning Centers are pioneering the next-generation of STEM education and learning for tomorrow’s astronauts, engineers and innovators.”

The non-profit Challenger Center for Space Science Education is the nation’s premier provider of science education and career inspiration and plays an essential leadership role in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Challenger Center was founded in 1986 to honor the educational mission of the seven fallen astronauts who flew aboard the Challenger space shuttle. Its national network of Challenger Learning Centers has engaged over 4 million students in simulated missions to the Moon, Mars, Comet Halley, and the asteroids, as well as in space-themed learning experiences.

Two Days of Extraordinary Space Science Education in addition to hosting the MPCV, astronauts, and aerospace engineers for a two day meet-and-greet, the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center will screen Hubble 3D at its IMAX theater at noon on both June 24 and 25, and children will be admitted free of charge to both shows. The film is a breathtaking documentary shot in space with an IMAX 3D camera of a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

“When children come to our Challenger Learning Center for the next two days, there’ll be no simulations-just real spacecraft, real astronauts, and real aerospace engineers,” said Michelle Personette, director of the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center. “Our students, our Learning Center, and our entire community are fortunate to be able to see and learn about NASA’s plans for space exploration.”

The following is the schedule of public events:

Friday, June 24

12:00 PM – Screening of Hubble 3D at the IMAX theater. Children will be admitted without charge.

1:00 PM to 7:30 PM – Public viewing of the MPCV, and astronauts Hobough and Williams, as well as aerospace engineers from NASA and Lockheed Martin, will be available to answer questions.

Saturday, June 25

12:00 PM – Screening of Hubble 3D at the IMAX theater. Children will be admitted without charge.

10:00 PM to 7:30 PM – Public viewing of the MPCV, and aerospace engineers from NASA and Lockheed Martin will be available to answer questions.

All events will be held at the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center, which engages 70,000 students annually in simulated missions and space science activities. The Center is located at:

200 South Duval Street Tallahassee, Florida

Additionally, the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center will hold a special event for the 45 lucky children who are attending the Center’s rocket camp for the week. On Friday morning, these elementary- and middle-school students, will have an exclusive viewing of the MPCV and will be the first to meet the astronauts and aerospace engineers.

“Challenger Center may not be taking students into space, at least not yet, but we’re offering the children of northern Florida an opportunity to see our newest spacecraft up close,” said June Scobee Rodgers, widow of Dick Scobee, commander of the Challenger Space Shuttle, and founding chair of Challenger Center’s board of directors. “Challenger will always honor its past, but we remain focused on the future – the future of space exploration and the future of STEM education. For two days, our Learning Center in Tallahassee will help usher in both.”

For more information about the events, contact the Tallahassee Challenger Center at 850-645-7827 or http://www.challengertlh.com.

About Challenger Center for Space Science Education

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center for Space Science Education and its international network of 48 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit www.challenger.org.

Challenger Center for Space Science Education
Steve Kussmann
300 N. Lee St., Suite 301
Alexandria, VA 22314
info@challenger.org
+1-800-969-5747

SpaceRef staff editor.