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Ages 15-18 Mission

Space Center University® offers challenging, quality STEM education inspired by space exploration. The five-day Martian program includes the following:

  • 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 retrieval mission and programming, multi-stage rocket design and launch, underwater “astronaut training,” collaborative teamwork and global awareness development.
  • Hear from guest speakers about what it takes to work at NASA and the projects that prepare humans for space exploration.
  • Daily lunch served at Space Center Houston in The Food Lab.
  • Astronaut presentation.
  • Graduation ceremony and certificates.

Program Activities

Space Exploration…Getting There


Participants will design and build a two stage rocket build based on the team goals for their mission. Crews will launch their rockets the following day to determine who has a successful launch and the highest the altitude. Launch site and may vary based on weather conditions.


Students will design, construct and test a thermal heat shield to be able to withstand temperatures up to 1,000° Fahrenheit (538° Celsius). This exercise simulates the effects on the space capsule heat shield during entry into the Martian atmosphere.


Can you protect your astronaut from the cold conditions on Mars? Design and build a cryo-capsule to protect your astronauts from extreme temperatures of -321° Fahrenheit (-196° Celsius).

Astronauts and Engineers…Living There


Working with licensed dive instructors in a local indoor swimming pool, participants will learn the techniques taught to astronauts as part of their preparation for performing tasks in microgravity. After which students will construct a mock-up airlock and perform other essential tasks similar to those developed by NASA.


Students must decide how to engineer a robotic rover based on a given set of parameters and tasks that the rover must accomplish on Mars. They begin with a budget, price list for supplies and then are given varying real-world criteria to design, construct then test their rovers. The rovers will be put to the test by collecting rock samples and executing student designed coding programs to maneuver on Mars.


What is it like living in space? How do astronauts get enough clean water and air? What happens if something goes wrong? Are there alternate sources of energy? How do astronauts communicate and work with peoples from different cultures? Students will participate in SIM (simulated) scenarios, build their own habitat that sustains core areas of life while maintaining cultural and global awareness.

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


Students will tour NASA Johnson Space Center with possible stops at historic Apollo era Mission Control 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. *Tours subject to availability


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 (SCA), and then explore the giant plane. It is the world’s only shuttle mounted on an SCA and the only one allowing the public to enter both.


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 and touch real Moon rocks and flown spacecraft while learning about the history of space flight.

Graduation Day


Hear first-hand stories from a NASA astronaut 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 in our Mission Briefing Center auditorium. To commemorate the special experience, students will receive Space Center U certificates for all students and medals for our top teams. Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend.

Sample Weekly Agenda

Monday Welcome in Mission Briefing Center, NASA Johnson Space Center tour, two-stage rocket build, thermal and cryogenic design challenge
Tuesday Rocket launch, Mission Control Tour, Martian habitat challenge
Wednesday Guest speaker, robotics design & construction
Thursday Independence Plaza & Falcon 9 tour, Thermal and cryogenic testing, SCUBA dive activity
Friday Q&A with an astronaut, Starship Gallery tour, graduation ceremony
*Activities are subject to change without notice due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.

Program Details

Age and class size requirements

Participants must be between the ages of 15-18.

Groups must have a minimum of 10 participants. If a group has less than 10, they will need to pay the minimum fee (See payment information). Individual registrations are accepted, but may be subject to cancellation or rescheduling to ensure that there are the minimum number of students to run the program.

The maximum per event is 70 students. Larger groups will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A minimum of 1:10 chaperones to student ratio is required for the program. Chaperones are not required for individual registrations.

Pricing Information

Individuals and Groups with less than 20 students

Includes admission, supplies, staff, lunch and graduation.

Groups with more than 20 students

Includes admission, supplies, staff, lunch and graduation.


Payment & Registration

Payment Types Accepted

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 six (6) weeks 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 & Fees

Group Registration and Administration Fee$300

Space Center U requires a $300 non-refundable administration fee to make and secure your reservation and date. The date cannot be booked without payment with full and final payment required six (6) 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 six (6) weeks before the scheduled date.

Final Payment

Final payment and final number of participants are due six (6) weeks prior to the day of visit. Space Center Houston reserves the right to cancel any reservation if final payment is not received six (6) weeks 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 six (6) weeks or more from the scheduled date.

Cancellations & Refunds

No refunds will be within six (6) weeks of your visit due to 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, six (6) weeks 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 six (6) weeks or more from the scheduled date.


Transportation to and from any airport, hotel, and Space Center Houston is the responsibility of the group or participant.

Transportation to and from the hotel to Space Center Houston, the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (if available) and the scuba dive session will also be the responsibility of the group.

Groups should meet with the Program Coordinator at 7:50 a.m. each day at the front of Space Center Houston for check in and instructions.

Hotel Lodging

Lodging will be the responsibility of the group or individual.

As of May 1, 2023, Space Center Houston will no longer offer an “all-inclusive hotel package,” for groups coordinated by Space Center Houston. Groups and individuals will need to book their own hotel reservations. Please make sure you have confirmation of your Space U class session dates, before booking any travel, as sessions can sell out.

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

Space Center Houston provides a listing of local area hotels on our website.



Daily lunch served at Space Center Houston by Wolfgang Puck Catering. Participants are given a daily voucher. Menu items may be chosen that are sensitive to personal dietary requirements and preferences from the stations available.


All-inclusive hotels offer a hot breakfast. All other hotels selected by the group. Breakfast is the responsibility of the group or participant.

Evening meals are the responsibility of the group or participant. 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


  • Pack enough clothing for at least 6 days.
  • Be sure to bring a swimsuit, t-shirt and towel for the dive session.
  • 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.


  • Cameras are welcome.
  • Participants may want some form of entertainment for the evenings at the hotel. Don’t forget to bring a charger for phone or game.
  • Most hotels used have Wi-Fi access.
  • 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 launch dates will be moved or cancelled if inclement weather occurs.

International Participants

Space Center Houston can provide a Visa letter upon request for all international visitors. Visa Invitation letters will only be issued after the administration fee and registration forms have been completed. The letter will be sent to the group coordinator. Space Center Houston will not send the letter to the Embassy or Consulate.

For more information, please read the Space Center U® frequently asked questions, call +1 281-283-4755 or email [email protected].

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Moon 2 Mars Festival is back!

Tickets on sale now | March 13 - 16

The All-American Rejects are throwing Space Center Houston’s Moon 2 Mars Festival into hyperdrive. Amp up your Space City Spring Break with us!

Access to this all-ages festival is included in general admission.


Join us in shaping the future of Space City by supporting STEM education for the next generation of space explorers!

Space Center Houston is working to foster a new generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators. In a city renowned for its pioneering spirit and innovation, inspiring our youth to reach for the stars is crucial. Your donation today will allow us to provide engaging programs and invaluable opportunities for more under-resourced students to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Make a gift now and make a lasting impact on our community’s future!