Higher Orbits brings ‘Go for Launch!’ to Leominster


The Leominster Champion
June 3, 2016

Higher Orbits will host its first Massachusetts “Go for Launch!” program Aug. 15-17 at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg andLeominster.

Middle school-aged students in the area will have the opportunity to participate in the three-day program that that uses space exploration as a platform to launch student engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), STEAM (Art), teamwork, communication and leadership.

Through their participation in “Go for Launch!” students learn about human spaceflight and get insight and feedback through a variety of talks delivered by experienced space and STEM professionals. Speakers scheduled to participate in this event include retired astronaut Don Thomas, former ISS flight controller and astronaut instructor Michelle Lucas, and others. The goal is to illustrate the numerous opportunities that exist in STEM-related careers.

“I’m excited to be attending the ‘Go for Launch!’ program in Leominster, Mass., from Aug. 15-17 and am looking forward to sharing with the students my experiences from my four missions aboard the Space Shuttle,” Thomas said. “I love the idea of exciting and inspiring our next generation of scientists, engineers, astronauts, and explorers through these programs. You never know, one of these students could end up going to Mars one day!”

The students will participate in collaborative activities and develop the idea for a space experiment, which they will present to a panel of judges in the space and STEM fields (including an astronaut). The judges will choose a winner at each “Go for Launch!” event. Winners from each event in the division will compete for the divisional title and those winners will have their experiments launched into space.

“As someone who grew up in love with space travel but without many options to have interactions where I could learn more,” said Michelle Lucas, founder of Higher Orbits. “I’m excited to be able to bring the ‘Go for Launch!’ program right to students in their hometown areas. Space inspires and I can’t wait to share that message with the students in Massachusetts.”

“Go for Launch!” will run Aug. 15-17 for all interested middle school-aged students and will be held at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, 365 Lindell Ave., Leominster. Registration for students is $250 and includes all supplies and meals. To register, or for more information, please visit www.GoForLaunch.space.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our club to offer Central Massachusetts youth a summer program of this significance,” said Donata Martin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. “It so complements our STEM and STEAM programming. The three days of NASA activities and actually meeting and working with NASA personnel, will spark interest in many fields of study and careers.”

Higher Orbits is supported by Intergalactic Sponsors: Space Tango, Kentucky Space, and eddi, who help make all “Go for Launch!” events possible. Sponsorship opportunities are still available at various levels for individual events, divisions or the overall program. For more details, please contact Michelle Lucas at GoForLaunch@higherorbits.org or call (707) 893-STAR.