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Celebrate the History of Space Flight

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Screenshot from First Orbit (the movie), created by FirstOrbit.org.

Today marks the 50 year anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's 108-minute, first human in space, orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961. It's a big day in the history of space exploration and flight!

To join in the celebration, make a bit of "space" in your day for some space history!

  • Make contact.

    Students (or classes) interested in space studies can try and make contact with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). Our HAMing It Up with the Astronauts* project can help get them started.

  • Explore liftoff.
    Students can learn more about the power behind liftoff when they use an online NASA simulator to design an ion engine, part of a propulsion system which is replacing the standard chemical propulsion system.


  • Think big.

    Students can explore a range of astro-related science projects in the Science Buddies Project Ideas Directory.


  • Look ahead.

    Explore a space- and astronomy-related careers, including Aerospace Engineer and Astronomer.


  • Tune in.

    Don't miss First Orbit, a free hour-and-a-half YouTube video that weaves together original footage and new footage from the ISS to recreate, in real time, that first flight. Class popcorn party anyone?

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


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Environmental conservation and energy science collide in a proposed solar power project that promises greener energy but threatens to disrupt a major migratory path for birds. Students explore with big data science.

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Think baseball is all about runs, outs, balls, and strikes? What about physics, biomechanics, and statistics? Explore the science of baseball!

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We go DIY with molecular gastronomy and family science as we make our own popping boba using the Spherification Kit from the Science Buddies Store.

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The current Ebola crisis in West Africa has already topped charts for all Ebola outbreaks in history. Medical biotechnology science projects let students gets hands-on with projects that parallel real-world research and development.

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An unusual caterpillar brings lots of "eeeews!" and one contribution to a citizen science project. Discover how anyone can collaborate on serious scientific research.

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UC Berkeley Professor Dan Garcia talks about the kind of "drag-and-drop," block-based, snap-together programming environments that are becoming increasingly popular as a way to introduce students of all ages to code.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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