Education

Dorset students get all-access pass to NASA space wonders during Texas educational mission

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: November 1, 2023 | Updated: 15th November 2023

Students from the Aspirations Academies Trust recently enjoyed an immersive NASA experience during an educational trip to Texas focused on science and space.

The annual journey for Year 12 students of the Aspirations Academies Trust took attendees from the Magna and Budmouth Academies to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Organised under the Trust’s Space Education Adventure initiative, the trip aims to encourage careers in STEM fields.

It featured a packed itinerary of NASA museum tours, behind-the-scenes access to facilities like Mission Control, and interactions with astronauts and engineers.

A tram tour of the Johnson Space Center took the party to the Mission Control Center, the Rocket Park, and the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility where the teenagers learned how NASA flight controllers monitor and control spacecraft missions.

They were able to see the Saturn V rocket that took Apollo 11 to the Moon as well as a full-scale mockup of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Magna Academy student, Arnav, said: “It’s amazing to see craft up close. And it’s been great to be able to ask so many questions about the missions and other work at NASA. There are lots of interesting people with cool careers around!”

Fellow Magna student Laila explained: “We’ve learned some unexpected things, too. We were all surprised to hear that Prada have recently signed up to design astronaut suits!”

The 10-day trip also incorporated collaborative projects with Houston students, university lectures, and cultural experiences. Trip leader Simon Sterland said: “We’re keen that the students should experience as much as they can while they’re here.

“Aspirations Academies Trust places the kind of project-based learning that goes on here at the heart of the education it offers in its academies.

“I think the students get a real sense when they’re in Houston of exactly how important it is. And it’s been great to see them working with their American counterparts, immersed in a different culture. The meals out and the shopping have also been very popular!”

Budmouth Academy student Jess said, “Coming to NASA has been a once in a lifetime experience. It’s really motivated me to think about what I want from a career in the future.”

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