Pa. space mission simulator gives students an out-of-this-world experience

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Friday, January 27, 2023
Pa. space mission sim gives students an out-of-this-world experience
The Challenger Learning Center at Montco Pottstown helps students envision an endless universe of career opportunities!

POTTSTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- January 28th marks the 37th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. But in its wake, a global network of education centers was born.

The Challenger Learning Center is a not-for-profit that offers space-centered simulations at dozens of locations across the world. The first and only one in Pennsylvania opened last year as a part of Montgomery County Community College.

The Pottstown location hosts students from 5th to 8th grade. Each group splits in half to emulate the roles of astronauts and mission control during the two-hour operation.

"They will essentially be exploring the moon's surface, learning more about it and then finding the best place where we as humans can live for really long periods of time," said Program Manager Annalise Giuliani.

Today, 8th-grade students from Radnor Middle School had an out-of-this-world experience.

"When I grow up, I want to be an aerospace engineer or an aeronautical engineer," said 13-year-old Kavin Thapar. "Seeing, like, the technological stuff incorporated with this makes me want to become an astronaut more."

Students also had a chance to learn about the team on the Space Shuttle Challenger and Christa McAuliffe in particular. She was intended to be the first teacher to fly in outer space and even planned to conduct lessons from the Challenger.

"To be able to share that with the students that are coming in today, I think just gives them a little connection to what they're doing here at the Challenger Center," said Program Coordinator Anjuli Aker. "Hopefully we'll see some of these students that come through the building on the moon one day."

The Challenger Learning Center at Montco Pottstown is currently booking middle school trips for later this year. To learn more, visit their website.

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