How the Spaceport America Project Has Benefitted Local Students

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: