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Challenger Learning Centre

From Tragedy to Triumph

On January 28, 1986, the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded shortly after liftoff taking the lives of seven astronauts. From this tragedy the families of the crew formed the Challenger Centre for Space Science Education to continue the crew's educational mission to learn, to explore and to inspire. This resulted in the world's first interactive space science education centre, where participants use state-of-the-art technology to simulate human exploration of space.

Learn more about the Challenger Centre for Space Science Education.

The Challenger Learning Centre

Fasten your virtual seatbelts and get ready to blast off into space in Canada’s only Challenger Learning Centre! In this NASA-inspired Mission Control and Spacecraft full scale model, your students will role-play as Astronauts and Mission Controllers to solve problems as they come face-to-face with the challenges and excitement of landing on Mars. This interactive and immersive science experience promotes STEM learning and highlights the value of teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking and effective communication. Prepare for an amazing journey!

How does a mission simulation work?

Using space simulation and role-playing strategies, students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate the skills needed for future success. Prior to the visit, teachers receive training materials to help students understand the theme of the mission and to practice the skills necessary for a successful mission. Students are paired up and assigned to a specific team such as Communication, Medical, Life Support, Navigation, etc. One student per team is assigned to Mission Control, while the other student is assigned to the Spacecraft. During the mission, students work to accomplish specific tasks. For example, Astronauts on board the Spacecraft build probes, monitor life support systems, conduct experiments and navigate the spacecraft through liftoff and landing. Engineers in Mission Control analyze data and provide critical support to the astronauts. At mission midpoint, the partners exchange places so every student can experience both learning environments. Back in the classroom following the mission at the Challenger Centre, teachers use reflection lessons designed to extend the learning experience.  

Video: Discover the Challenger Centre Experience
Space Mission Simulator: Mission Control and Spacecraft
Space Mission: Voyage to Mars

Space Mission Programs

Challenger Learning Centre

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