student launch 2011 at spaceport america

How the Spaceport America Project Has Benefitted Local Students

Spaceport America

Spaceport Tax Dollars

Tax dollars from Spaceport America gross receipts tax (approved by Sierra County voters) have paid for

  • 100 iPads at Hot Springs High, which are used for education and to take mandated tests that are given electronically
  • scientific and graphing calculators for the math classes
  • new equipment for the science labs including  a microscope.
  • STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) program created at HSHS
  • Robotics programs created at the elementary, middle and high schools
  • trips to locations as far away as San Francisco for events related to these projects
  • participation in Student Launches at Spaceport America (see video from the 2011 launch below)

School Curriculum and Extra-Curricular Activities

Participating Sierra County Students

  • are currently taught space-related courses by 2 dedicated teachers
  • can enroll in a Payloads course at HSHS and get dual credit for high school & college
  • may participate in STEM or Robotics programs
  • have enjoyed remarkable access to the Spaceport facility including numerous virtual and physical tours and access to the professionals that operate the facility
  • have been exposed to professionals from the New Mexico Space Authority, the International Symposium for Commercial Spaceflight, and NASA
  • have met (virtually and in person) some of the “astronauts” (paid ticket purchasers) who have volunteered for outreach. Google Hangouts & Skype sessions have been conducted providing interaction & lessons
  • have witnessed / participated in / sent payloads up at each and every vertical launch that’s occurred from 2009 to present
  • have sent numerous experiments into suborbital space, including one related to algae & biodiesel fuel
  • are one of the few educational groups that have had payloads included on NASA’s missions
  • have traveled to Virgin Galactic events at Spaceport facility & in San Francisco as a result of their launch experience
  • were included in the opening day of the Visitor Experience and given first exposure to the exhibits
  • received a visit from NASA’s Exploration Experience Trailer
  • were treated to a “top gun” pilot flyover by WhiteKnight Two and SpaceShip Two on Spaceport Grand Opening Day
  • have been inspired to enroll in additional math and science classes to augment their studies
  • have gone on to pursue college degrees in engineering & aerospace as a result of their exposure to Spaceport America

Future Benefits

Many projects are in the works including

  • teachers are working (along with students) with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority and Virgin Galactic to offer educational stimuli and eventually mentorships to students
  • teachers have been hired by Follow The Sun Tours (the official tour operators for visiting Spaceport America) as guides / “experts” to explain the various STEM exhibits
  • teachers and students are working to get a student experiment on the International Space Station

Video from the 2011 Student Launch at Spaceport America:

YouTube video