Inspiration and Imagination

Mission Astronautica helps students prepare for a spacefaring future


Where does the next “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” begin?

It begins with efforts like Raytheon’s partnership with Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre – and the learning initiative Mission Astronautica.

Mission Astronautica focused on topics such as buoyancy, forces, and how neutral buoyancy is related to moving in zero gravity. Students designed and built an object that ‘hovers’ in water without any support.

The students, from participating schools Cowra High, Karabar High and Lanyon High, were encouraged to draw on the knowledge of retired astronaut Clay Anderson, their project mentor. Now recognised as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ambassador and motivational speaker, Anderson dedicated 30 years of his professional career to the U.S. government agency NASA, in the roles of engineer and astronaut. Anderson was on hand for the duration of the project, offering his expertise on how to facilitate movement in zero gravity.

Throughout the course of the project, all students were encouraged to engage in direct ‘live’ streams with Canberra-based Questacon project facilitators and Anderson in the U.S., enabled via the Raytheon-supported Schmidt Digital Studio. Each session took the form of a project workshop, allowing students easy access to additional information or guidance.

Mission Astronautica was the latest Virtual Excursion project conducted under the Razytheon-Questacon partnership. The project may be over, but the mission to engage the next generation In STEM fields is just beginning.

Published On: 07/27/2015
Last Updated: 02/01/2018