Now that’s Space Team work!

By: Contributing Writer — Theresa Coates Ellis, CCN Sponsor

Higher Orbits, “Go for Launch!” Autumn Flint, Metz Middle School, had fun with her peers exploring and discovering human spaceflight.

It all came together with relationship building and a real passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)!  As an Advisory Board member for the Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program, I connected with HR Zucker, President HR-ZTECH Holdings Inc., Aviation & Aerospace Strategic Executive Management, to discuss opportunities for students in his field of expertise. 

HR and I are board members on the Manassas Regional Airport Commission. HR is also a member of the The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

During the spring, I invited HR to a MCPS CTE board meeting with Susan McNamara, Supervisor of K-12 Career and Technical Education, Manassas City Public Schools and Paul Steiner, CTE Administrator, Osbourn High School.  HR shared his vision of introducing and fueling the knowledge of space to our youth. 

Weeks later, HR acted on his vision.  His company sponsored Autumn Flint, a Metz Middle School student, to attend a 3-day Higher Orbits , “Go For Launch” May 2017 Herndon, Va. workshop sponsored by AIAA The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Middle School Division of Go For Launch! in Northern Virginia.  Higher Orbits, a non-profit, founded by Michelle Lucas, ignites student passion about STEM, Leadership Teamwork, Teamwork and Communication through the wonder of spaceflight. Before forming Higher Orbits, Michelle worked at NASA primarily in International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Operations Planning and as an Astronaut Instructor in the Daily Operations Group.

Autumn participated in the workshop that included designing a space experiment that could potentially ride. Speakers included VA District 10 U.S. House of Representative Member the Honorable Barbara Comstock. Astronaut Frank Culbertson supported this Herndon workshop. Additional Astronauts involved in the program include Don Thomas, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, Bill Gregory, Wendy Lawrence and Mike Foreman. Sandy Magnus, retired Astronaut and AIAA Executive Director was a major supporter, along with Astronaut Instructors, International Space Instructors, International Space Station Flight Controllers, Scientists and Engineers — all contributing their expertise to the program.  

The connecting of businesses and students has launched. It’s a win-win situation for both.  HR, who was also a guest speaker at the workshop, appreciates the energy and time spent by the MCPS CTE program members and the Higher Orbits team to offer this benefit to Autumn.
HR said, “The idea of bringing ‘space’ (the dream of the impossible to some) down to earth and into the City of Manassas (and Prince William County) schools can only be realized and supported by you, who brought your passion, care, and resources to the table and helped realize one child’s dream of living and working in space.”
Let’s keep opening the doors to more students for a future in STEM!

Sponsors for  Higher Orbits, “Go for the Launch!”  AIAA – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Airbus, Orbital ATK, ILS International Launch Services, HR ZTECH, Space Tango, Space Shirts, Uniphi Space Agency & Kentucky Space.

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