Space Center U®

Ages 11-14 program

Space Center University offers challenging, quality STEM education inspired by space exploration. This year we are offering the Space Center University Clean Room experience to educate our future engineers in an immersive way while also maintaining health and safety.

The five-day lunar program for ages 11-14 includes the following:

  • Clean room protocol to prepare for engineering design activities.
  • Hands-on, engineering-based activities and data collection technology integration for real-world analysis.
  • Behind-the-scenes access to “the real thing,” including exciting tours* of actual astronaut training and work facilities, such as NASA Johnson Space Center, and Rocket Park. *Tours subject to availability.
  • Interactive, project-based learning that includes sustainable habitat construction, robot mission and programming, rocket design and launch, and more!
  • Hear from virtual guest speakers about what it takes to work at NASA and the projects that prepare humans for space exploration.
  • Live virtual Astronaut presentation with Q&A
  • socially distanced graduation ceremony with certificates


Individuals and groups with three or fewer participants should register online. Online registration 
Groups with four or more participants should register via PDF form.
Space Center U clean room
Space Center U logo

Space Center U dates

Three-day programs
  • Feb 13-15, 2021
  • May 29-31, 2021
Five-day programs
  • March 15-19, 2021

Additional dates available upon request for groups of 10 or more.

Program activities

Space Exploration…Getting There

Build and launch rockets

Lunar launch

Participants will engineer, build and launch a one-stage rocket. Students will perform stability tests to ensure their rockets are flight-ready and work through calculations to determine apogee, or maximum altitude. Launch site and date may vary based on weather conditions.

Engineering challenges

Engineering safety

A critical aspect of being an astronaut is having situational awareness to ensure the mission is a success. Each day students will be engaged in protocol to maintain high levels of safety and sanitation within an engineering workspace to ensure a successful mission.

Astronauts and Engineers…Living There

Lunar living

Lunar Living

What is it like living in space? How do astronauts get enough clean water and air? How do astronauts communicate and work with peoples from different cultures? Students will participate in SIM (simulated) scenarios and build their own Lunar habitat that sustains core areas of life on the lunar surface.

Roving robotics

Roving Robotics

Participants will explore and accomplish tasks in space using a robotic rover based on a given set of parameters. Students will learn the math calculations needed to traverse the space field. They also will translate the mathematic calculations into the coding instructions for their robot to ensure mission success!

Heat shield test

Bring the Heat!

Getting back to Earth is no easy task. Heat shields must withstand temperatures of over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit (537 degrees Celsius) during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Students will design, build, test, re-design and re-test heat shields to ensure astronaut safety during re-entry.

It’s Not Rocket Science…Oh, Wait, Yes It Is!

Neutral Buoyancy Lab

NASA Exclusives: Behind-the-Scenes Tours

Students will tour NASA Johnson Space Center with possible stops at Rocket Park and the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, including its full-size training modules of the International Space Station. They will see rockets up-close that were used in early space exploration and experience the space shuttle replica Independence atop the historic Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft.

Independence Plaza

Independence Plaza

Get a rare glimpse into the shuttle program with a tour* of Houston’s international landmark exhibit Independence Plaza. Students will go inside the high-fidelity shuttle replica Independence, mounted on top of the historic and original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft, and then explore the giant plane. Afterwards, they will view and learn about the twice-flown Space X Falcon 9 booster rocket. *All tours are subject to availability.

Starship Gallery

Starship Gallery

Starship Gallery at Space Center Houston is home to multiple flown spacecraft and national treasures. Get an up-close look at some of the most amazing artifacts that trace the progression of human space exploration. Students will see real Moon rocks and flown spacecraft while learning about the history of space flight.

Graduation Day

Virtual Astronaut Presentation

Hear from a NASA astronaut and their first-hand stories about space exploration. Ask questions about their mission experience and learn what it takes to become an astronaut.


Celebrate your students’ achievements at Space Center U® graduation. To commemorate the special experience, students will receive Space Center U certificates and first, second, and third place medals.

Sample three-day agenda

Day 1
  • Welcome
  • NASA Johnson Space Center Rocket Park tour
  • Rocket design and build
  • Biochemical engineering challenge
Day 2
  • Rocket launch
  • Robotic design, construction, and coding challenge
  • Independence Plaza and SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket tour
Day 3
  • Starship Gallery tour
  • Guest speaker
  • Robotics competition
  • Thermal heat shield design and testing
  • Graduation ceremony

Sample five-day agenda

Monday Welcome, NASA Johnson Space Center tour,  one-stage rocket build
Tuesday Rocket Launch and thermal heat shield challenge
Wednesday Starship Gallery tour,  robotic design, construction & coding
Thursday Mars Exhibit and lunar habitat challenge
Friday Q&A with an Astronaut, , Independence Plaza tour, NASA Guest speaker, graduation ceremony

*Activities and tours are subject to change without notice due to weather, availability or unforeseen circumstances.

Program details

Age and class size requirements

To maintain safe camp practices and social distancing procedures, there will be smaller class sizes, so registration spots are limited.

Participants must be between the ages of 11-14. If the participant is 10 and turning 11, they may attend with the understanding that the material is designed for middle school, age-appropriate learning.

Participants will have their own individual workstations and be socially distanced from other participants for the activities.

Pricing information


Three-day - No hotel included; Includes admission, supplies, staff, lunch and graduation. $374.95/student
Three-day - Includes hotel (double-occupancy), admission, supplies, staff, lunch and graduation. $799.95/student
Five-day - No hotel included; Includes admission, supplies, staff, lunch and graduation. $615.95/student
Five-day - Includes hotel (double-occupancy), admission, supplies, staff, lunch and graduation. $905.95/student

Payment information

Payment types and requirements

Space Center Houston accepts credit cards, money orders, cashier’s checks and wire transfers. Please note that wire fees are the responsibility of the group and are in addition to all program costs. Personal checks or purchase orders are not accepted.

A major credit card is the required form of payment to secure your reservation. The credit card will be charged at the time of booking for your administrative fees and will also be used for final payment if other arrangements have not been made one week prior to the day of visit. The reservation will automatically be canceled if the credit card is declined and repayment has not been arranged.

Please make payment to Space Center Houston and mail to:
Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Parkway
Houston, TX 77058
Attention: Reservations


Group Registration and Administration Fee (applies to groups with more than 10 participants) $300
Additional Night Hotel Fee (applies to all group sizes) $125 per room

Space Center U requires a $300 non-refundable administration fee for groups to make and secure your reservation and date. The date cannot be booked without payment, with full and final payment required four weeks prior to your event date.

Wire fees are the responsibility of the group and are in addition to all program cost. Exact payments are required. Wire transfers must be received by Space Center Houston one week before the scheduled date.

Final payment

Final payment and final number of participants are due one week prior to the day of visit. Space Center Houston reserves the right to cancel any reservation if final payment is not received one week prior to the day of visit.

Space Center Houston reserves the right to cancel prior to the event due to low enrollment. Final cancellations for this reason will be determined one week or more from the scheduled date.

Cancellations and refunds

No refunds will be within one week of your visit due to the advanced hotel reservations, staff scheduling, food preparation and material purchasing. For this reason, refunding partial or full payment is not possible.

Cancellation of your visit must be received in writing, one week prior to the date of visit.

Space Center Houston reserves the right to cancel prior to the event due to low enrollment. Final cancellations for this reason will be determined one week or more from the scheduled date.

Hotel Lodging

Lodging will be the responsibility of the group. Space Center Houston offers an "all-inclusive package," which include hotel accommodations that will be coordinated by Space Center Houston. You may add-on an additional day for $125 per room per night. Note: hotel bookings are for double occupancy only, single occupancy is not permitted. Additional nights or extra rooms are the responsibility of the group.

Daily transportation to and from the hotel to Space Center Houston is the responsibility of the group.

All room arrangements are indoors with no outside access. All rooms are key access.

Hotel Code of Conduct
Each group is responsible for their students’ behavior while staying in the hotel. Space Center Houston is not responsible for unruly behavior and/or damage caused by participants in the Space Center U program.


Transportation to and from Space Center Houston each day is the responsibility of the participant.

Participants should meet with the Space Center U Instructor between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. every morning. Please DO NOT be late, as we will begin class promptly at 8:35 a.m. after all students have gone through sanitation procedures.

Sanitation & Safety Practices


Drop-off procedures:

  • Check-in and Drop-off for ages 11-14 takes place 8 a.m. until 8:30 a.m.
  • Parents may park in the Mercury A parking lot directly across from Special Events Building. Please follow Space Center U drop-off signs to guide you to the check-in location.
  • Upon arrival, please do not exit your vehicle. Please make sure your child stays in the vehicle until the check-in process has been completed.
  • A trained instructor will come to your vehicle, while maintaining a six-foot distance, with a checklist of questions for the parent to verbally answer (touchless) concerning the wellness of their child. *Families that have traveled internationally should not attend any educational programming until they have completed a 14 day quarantine and practiced social distancing.
  • A valid ID must be shown.
  • Parents must indicate who will be picking up the student.
  • Parents will be given a hanging car tag with the participant’s name to be placed on the rear-view mirror for pick-up.
  • Once the checklist is completed, the student will exit the vehicle and be escorted to the hand-washing station on the lot entrance to begin their Space Center U Clean Room experience.


Pick-up procedures:

  • Monday through Thursday, checkout/pickup takes place 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • All participants must be picked up by 4:05 p.m. After-care is not provided.
  • Friday checkout will be after graduation ceremonies from 1 - 1:30 p.m.
  • The parking fee is waived when picking up your child from Space Center U.
  • Parents may park in the Mercury A parking lot at the Special Event Building. Please look for Space Center U signs to guide you to the parking area.
  • Parent hang-tags need to be properly displayed on the rear-view mirror during the pick-up process.
  • Upon arrival, please do not exit your vehicle. A trained instructor will come to the vehicle, while maintaining a six-foot distance to identify the student to be picked up.
  • Parent/guardians must provide valid identification when picking up their child from the Space Center Center U program.
  • An instructor will escort your child to the vehicle for departure.


If you arrive at the Special Event Building after 9 a.m. or before 3 p.m., please follow the procedures below to maintain safe social distancing while dropping off or picking up your child.

  • Please park your vehicle in the parking lot across from the Special Event Building.
  • Please call +1 281-289-4768 and one of our staff members will come out to your vehicle to start the check-in/out procedure.
  • Please maintain social distancing guidelines while interacting with staff for drop-off or pick-up procedures.
  • Please have your ID ready when picking up the Space Center U participant.


Participants must bring their own lunch each day. Food services will not be provided.

There is not a microwave available to participants.

Participants with food allergies will sit at an allergy free table to avoid food contamination.

Every participant will be provided with a daily snack in the afternoon.

Other Meals

All-inclusive hotels offer a hot breakfast. All other hotels selected by the group; breakfast is the responsibility of the participant(s).
Evening meals are the responsibility of the participant(s). There are several restaurants within walking distance of Space Center Houston, as well as most of the area hotels used for lodging.

What to bring


  • Participants must wear their own facemask each day.
  • Closed toed shoes
  • A lab coat, gloves, and shoe coverings will be provided to participants in the “clean room” environment.
  • Pack a jacket as it may get cold in the classroom and a raincoat (in case of inclement weather) for the tram ride each day.

Other Items

  • Cameras are welcome.
  • Participants may want some form of entertainment for the evenings at the hotel. Don’t forget to bring a charger for laptops, phones or other devices.
  • Students may also want to bring cash for incidentals, evening meals and souvenirs.


The safety of all participants and staff is very important.

If inclement weather is forecasted and Space Center Houston is asked to close, we will notify all participants. If a participant cannot get to Space Center U™ due to the weather, please call and notify Reservations or your Education contact.

Rocket launches will be placed on hold or be cancelled if inclement weather occurs.

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