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 that 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 the 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.
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.
Seeing Future Space students applying their learnings from the world-class immersive STEM education program was a ‘rewarding journey’, said Christine Castle, Principal of Hurlstone Agricultural High School.
“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.
Sophie Poisel, Head of Lang Walker Family Academy said, ‘providing hands-on experiment opportunities is at the core of the program’.
“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.
Australian Space Agency pioneer
The esteemed guest for the launch event, Pamela 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 significant time in Australia, inspiring the future of space undertaking.
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. 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