Image: NASA Deputy Administrator Pamela Melroy with Western Sydney school students Credit: Andy Roberts
On Tuesday 14 February, NASA Deputy Administrator Pamela Melroy joined high school students from Western Sydney who are part of Powerhouse: Future Space to launch their next mission – a student-designed experiment which will be conducted on the International Space Station in 2024.
As part of the Lang Walker Family Academy In-Schools Program, Powerhouse: Future Space in collaboration with Magnitude.io and the NSW Department of Education is in its second year of a three-year program. It has been providing students from Western Sydney and regional areas with ground-breaking technology, advanced educational opportunities, and exposure to international scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
The 2022 mission ‘Carbon Farmer’ used scientific inquiry to teach students about importance of the carbon cycle on Earth and in space. This year, students will use NASA-inspired design thinking techniques to plan their own space and Earth-based experiment between February and August and pitch their ideas to a panel of experts during the 2023 Sydney Science Festival. The winning design will be selected for ground trials and active experiments on the International Space Station in early 2024.
The esteemed guest for the launch event, Melroy was one of only two female commanders of NASA space shuttle missions. She went on three space shuttle assembly missions in 2000, 2002 and 2007 to help build the International Space Station. She is also a pioneer for the Australian Space Agency, having spent a significant amount of time in Australia, inspiring the future of space undertaking. Powerhouse connected 150 students from Hurlstone Agricultural High School, East Hills Girls Technology High School, Arthur Phillip High School, Jamison High School, Seven Hills High School and Casula High School with the distinguished leader to hear her inspiring recollections from an outstanding STEM career. Melroy also offered advice to students on their experiment proposals for the mission, followed by Q&A.
‘We are thrilled to be a participating school in the Powerhouse: Future Space program and supporting the launch of the 2023 mission. It has been a rewarding journey to see Future Space students applying their learnings from the world-class immersive STEM education program to prepare an actual space mission on the International Space Station,’ said Christine Castle, Principal of Hurlstone Agricultural High School.
‘The Lang Walker Family Academy is excited to have Pamela Melroy to launch the next mission for the Powerhouse: Future Space program. Inspiring students in Western Sydney and regional NSW by connecting them with industry experts and providing hands-on experiment opportunities is at the core of the program. It is exciting that this year students can apply their learnings to design their own experiment which will be conducted both on-ground and on the International Space Station,’ said Sophie Poisel, Head of Lang Walker Family Academy.
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Chloe Kang | Powerhouse
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About Powerhouse: Future Space
Powerhouse: Future Space connects Stage 5 students from six Western Sydney local government areas to the International Space Station and a global network of learners through the ExoLab-10 mission. The program has been developed in partnership by Powerhouse, Magnitude.io and the NSW Department of Education, with support from Fizzics Education and presented as part of the Lang Walker Family Academy In-Schools Program.
About Lang Walker Family Academy
In one of the largest donations ever to an Australian cultural institution, the Walker Family Foundation donated $20 million to the Lang Walker Family Academy and associated programs, a commitment that will fund access to world-class immersive STEM education experiences at the museum for over 10,000 high school students from Western Sydney and regional NSW every year, including overnight stays at Powerhouse Parramatta for many of these students. The Lang Walker Family Academy programs commenced in early 2022 in Western Sydney with in-school STEM education programming planned for schools in the Blacktown, Campbelltown, Liverpool, Bankstown, Penrith and Parramatta LGAs.
Magnitude.io is an educational company based in Berkeley, California, that operates missions in microgravity aboard the International Space Station for schools, science centres and museums across the world. Magnitude.io is an Industry Partner of the NSW Department of Education through the department’s STEM Industry Schools Partnership program and recently completed the collaborative Australian Virtual Astronaut project which connected over 7000 students in 200 schools across Australia.