Space mission simulator for students opened Thursday - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Space mission simulator for students opened Thursday

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

On Thursday, the Texas State Technical College opened the doors of its Challenger Learning Center, which offers a two-hour simulated space mission for students from 5th to 12th grade. 

“It’s a very involved, hands on. It’s very much a detail-oriented, task-oriented experience for them,” Flight Director for the Challenger Learning Center at TSTC Waco Trey Pearson said. "We are trying to replicate the reason we go to space, the reason we do those missions as much as possible."

The center aims to encourage students to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

"The center gives the students a chance to bring STEM alive," Flight Director for the Challenger Learning Center at TSTC Waco Trey Pearson said. "It gives them a place to come and be inspired. You look to astronauts and space travel, those are big things. We're able to bring them in and make them astronauts for a day. We take that fear of 'it may be too hard' and we give them a place to succeed."

Adam Hutchison, provost at TSTC in Waco, says the Challenger Center gives students an opportunity to get involved with STEM in the area.

“Things they learn in the activities — robotics, physics and chemistry — these are all things that coincide with what TSTC does,” Hutchinson said. “They can do it right here in Waco.”

The $500,000 facility funded by TSTC, the Rapoport Foundation and the Cooper Foundation, will give groups of up to 32 students do tasks in mission control and the space station.  

“It's really an investment in the students in this area. It's an investment in getting them interested in stem careers to keep the economy strong,” Pearson said.

TSTC hosted an opening event of the spacecraft on Thursday night.

The center will also be open to other groups of 16 to up to 32 people, such as boys and girl scouts, church groups, corporate teams. 

The Challenger in Waco is the second one the TSTC system has opened. The first one opened in Harlingen in 2014. 

To find out more information about the TSTC Challenger Center in Waco, click here.

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