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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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Can you harness the sun to cook your dinner? A solar oven skeptic is converted after building his own solar oven and putting it to the test.

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Put yourself in the middle of ongoing research and development with a cutting-edge student biomedical engineering, human biology, or computer science project.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: explore the science of speed and constant acceleration.

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You don't have to wait until the last minute to start the project display board for a science fair project. A great board takes planning, and you can do a good deal of preliminary legwork getting your board ready even...

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School and family science weekly spotlight: listen to how music and sound are incorporated in movies of certain types.

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Science activities and projects that let kids get hands-on with things slimy, ghoulish, gross, light-up, or glow-in-the-dark.



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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