Image collage with students conducting experiments, building robots, constructing space habitats and designing rockets

Space Center U® Visual Impairment (VI) Program is a new challenging three-day program for visually impaired and blind students ages 15-18 that will run 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 12-14, 2019 or dates by request at Space Center Houston.

This program is modified from the existing Space Center U and combines classroom theory with cognitive and tactile tasks, which promote teamwork, solving problems, communication and engineering solutions to space-related situations.

The VI Program was developed jointly by Space Center Houston’s accessibility and inclusion coordinator and the Space Center U coordinator, as well as local experts, to meet the needs of students with low vision or blindness. A variety of visual assisting devices and technology will be provided to participants. Tactile examples of key concepts will be given and page magnifiers and high-contrast materials will be available.

Space Center U VI program includes the following:

  • Hands-on, engineering-based activities and data collection technology integration for real-world analysis
  • Interactive, project-based learning that includes a one-stage rocket launch, thermal tile and cryogenic capsule testing, robotics, parachute design, collaborative teaming and implementation of critical thinking skills
  • Experts speaking about what it takes to work at NASA and the projects that prepare humans for space exploration
  • Daily lunch at Space Center Houston
  • Meet an Astronaut
  • Graduation ceremony and certificates

Space Center U logo

Group of students pose for photo during activities.

Registration

A completed and signed registration form is required to book your group. To register, contact Reservations at +1 281-283-4755 or fill out the registration form and email it to reservations@spacecenter.org.

Register today

Click here to download a large print registration form.

Program activities

Space Exploration…Getting There

Two female students prepare to launch the rocket they built.

Team building

A critical aspect of being an astronaut is the ability to work with teammates to ensure mission success. Each day the students will engage in activities to learn how to listen, communicate, collaborate and solve problems together.

Student-built rockets ready for launch near Rocket Park.

'Go' for launch

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

A student-built rocket landing near Independence Plaza.

Parachute and lander design

Landing on Mars is hard! Students will learn about the methods NASA has used to slow spacecraft and land rovers safely on the Martian surface to explore the terrain. These engineers in training then will design their own space capsules to protect their robots and a parachute system to slow it in order to land safely.

Astronauts and Engineers…Living There

Participants must code a robot to successfully complete an important space mission.

Roving robotics

Participants will explore and accomplish tasks on Mars using a robotic rover based on a given set of parameters. Students will learn to code their robots in order to traverse Mars and ensure the success of their missions!

Students test the heat shield they built with a blowtorch to protect an egg representing an astronaut.

Bring the heat!

Getting back to Earth is no easy task for astronauts as their heat shields must withstand temperatures of over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit due to the aerodynamic heating of re-entry. Students will design, build and test their heat shields to ensure they can protect astronauts during re-entry.

Instructors pour liquid nitrogen into a container to test capsule from extreme temperatures.

Cryogenics testing

How is an astronaut protected from the cold conditions on the moon? Students will design and build a cryo-capsule to protect your astronauts from extreme temperatures of -321° Fahrenheit (-196° Celsius).

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

Independence Plaza, which is home to the massive shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905, with the high-fidelity shuttle replica on top.

Independence Plaza tour

Experience the shuttle program with a tour of the international landmark exhibit Independence Plaza. Students will go inside the high-fidelity shuttle replica Independence, mounted on top of the historic NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA), and then explore the giant plane.

Two people admire artifacts in Starship Gallery including the Mercury 9.

Starship Gallery tour

Starship Gallery at Space Center Houston is home to multiple flown spacecraft and national treasures. Students will see and touch real moon rocks and flown spacecraft while learning about the history of space flight.

Students touch a model control panel.

Touch tour

Experience artifacts usually not available to the public in our specialized touch tour. Items from the throughout the history of human space flight will be available to explore through touch.

A view of the Mission Mars exhibit, which mimics a red Martian landscape.

Mission Mars

Discover what it takes to travel to Mars, what hardware will get humans to the fourth planet in our solar system and how humans may live on the red planet in the next few decades.

Graduation Day

NASA Astronaut Brian Duffy takes a photo with students after Brunch with an Astronaut.

Meet an Astronaut

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

Students attend Space Center U graduation.

Graduation

Celebrate your students’ achievements at Space Center U graduation. To commemorate the special experience, students will receive Space Center U certificates and awards for the winning team.

Sample weekly agenda

Wednesday Build and launch rocket, design and test thermal tile, design cryogenics capsule
Thursday Robotics and parachute-design challenge, guest speaker
Friday Q&A with an astronaut, Starship Gallery tour, Independence Plaza tour, graduation ceremony

*Activities are subject to change without notice due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.

Program details

Admission prices

No hotel included

Students
Includes admission, supplies, staff, hear from NASA experts, private tours, meet an astronaut, lunch and graduation.
$349.95
Chaperones
Includes admission, daily lunch, hear from NASA experts, private tours, meet an astronaut
$229.95
Graduation ceremony & Q&A with an Astronaut only (family members, other non-participants viewing ceremony) $69.95

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 four (4) 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

Forms

Medical and media forms need to be submitted to globalprograms@spacecenter.org four (4) weeks prior to the event date. Click here to view and download the forms.


Cancellations and refunds

No refunds will be within four (4) weeks 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, four (4) 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 four (4) weeks or more from the scheduled date.


Food

Lunch

Lunch is provided Wednesday and Thursday in the classroom. Menu items may be chosen that are sensitive to personal dietary requirements and preferences from the stations available.

Other Meals

Evening meals are the responsibility of the participants. There are several restaurants within walking distance of Space Center Houston, as well as most of the area hotels used for lodging.

Friday Space Center Houston will offer a buffet style meal for all participants, which includes an astronaut Q&A. Parents are welcome to join for a fee of $69.95. A minimum of two day advanced notice is needed.

What to bring

Clothing

  • Pack enough clothing for at least three days.
  • Pack a jacket as it may get cold in the classroom and a raincoat.

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 phone or game.
  • Most hotels used have Wi-Fi access.
  • Students may also want to bring cash for incidentals, evening meals and souvenirs.
  • We highly encourage participants to bring any sort of assistive device or technology that they normally use to enhance their experiences.

Weather

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 cancelled if inclement weather occurs. Space Center Houston staff will do their best to reschedule rocket launches if there is inclement weather, but cannot be guaranteed.

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 reservations@spacecenter.org.

Register today

Click here to download a large print registration form.

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