Spotlight on Staff: James Talmage recognized for flying 3,000 missions (and taking 100,000 students) to the moon

When the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed in 1986, the Houston Museum of Natural Science was the first organization in the nation to establish a learning center in memory of the astronauts who died. HMNS opened the first Challenger Learning Center in 1988; today, there is an international network of more than 45 centers devoted to simulated space flight.

Challenger Learning CenterNow, the National Challenger Learning Center has honored HMNS Flight Director James Talmage for completing 3,000 missions in the Museum’s Challenger Learning Center, sending more than 100,000 students soaring to the Moon and Mars.

The Challenger Learning Center has taught its student astronauts the value of working as a team to accomplish a successful mission. During Talmage’s 12 years years as Flight Director, he has continually improved students’ learning experience, giving countless young people the opportunity to solve problems and model real-world careers in Houston.

From birthday parties to adult team building, James Talmage has made the Challenger Learning Center an interactive learning experience for all ages. To learn more about HMNS’ Challenger Learning Centers, located at the Museum’s main campus and at The George Observatory click here.

Remembering Neil Armstrong: The first man on the moon dies at 82

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday at the age of 82.

Neil ArmstrongArmstrong made history on July 20, 1969 as commander of the Apollo 11 mission when he set foot on the moon in front of a captivated American TV audience.

Fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was on the Apollo 11 mission with Armstrong, said, “Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone.

Following his death, the American icon’s family called Armstrong “our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend […] a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”

“The next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

So give Neil a wink this weekend and check out how he’s being remembered around the world:

 

You can give Armstrong a wink of your own at the George Observatory.

Family Space Day at the George: Experience the Challenger Learning Center with your kids, plus bottle rockets!

Get out of town this weekend and head south toward Brazos Bend for a day of family fun at the George ObservatoryFamily Space Day!

For the duration of Family Space Day, the Challenger Learning Center will be open for individual children and adults to learn the importance of teamwork in a simulated mission to space.

Be an astronaut for a day as you and your child are assigned jobs aboard the Space Station Observer and work in tandem to solve real-world problems. NASA volunteers will be running the missions and interacting with participants as they experience real astronaut training.

The Challenger Learning Center is usually only open to groups, so don’t miss this rare chance to complete a mission as an individual.

Stay after your mission and see space from the other side during stargazing on the observation deck. Tickets to access the George Observatory telescopes go on sale at 5 p.m. for $5, weather permitting.

For more information on Family Space Day and the George Observatory, including mission times and rules, click here!

Family Space Day [George Observatory]Attendees prepare to launch bottle rockets at Family Space Day 2010

Volunteers from Boeing will also be on-hand throughout the day as part of the company’s third annual Global Day of Service. Boeing employee volunteers will help facilitate a variety of children’s activities, including bottle rocket launching, crafts, robotics and more.

Watch a video of all the fun at Family Space day below!

It’s Family Space Day at the George on Saturday: Take your family to the Moon!

Challenger Learning Center Want to go to space? We can take you. Say hello to the Challenger Learning Center and Family Space Day.

The Challenger Learning Center opened at HMNS in 1988 after the tragic last flight of the space shuttle Challenger. A living, teaching memorial to the crew, the Challenger Center continues to teach children about space and space flight and perpetuate all the things the crew loved.

Originally designed for schools and groups, the Challenger takes up to 40 participants to “space” as they experience real astronaut training during their missions to the Moon or Mars. Groups perform real world problem-solving as they train to become astronauts aboard the Space Station Observer. Children and adults are inspired and experience what it feels like to be an astronaut.

At Family Space Days at the George Observatory Challenger Center, individual family members are able to enjoy this memorable experience, too. Special dates are reserved for families to come down to the George Observatory and feel the adventure of space flight. Space Day missions are run by trained NASA volunteers who add to the authenticity of the event.

And guess what? One of those special dates reserved for you and your family to travel into space is this Sat., May 19!

Families are placed on a team and work together toward accomplishing mission goals. Those goals could include assembling a communication satellite, operating on-board robots, monitoring the life support systems, acting as the doctor on-board or navigating through space in order to land gently on the surface of the Moon. But the sky’s the limit.

Each position is vital to the success of the overall mission. And, of course, every good astronaut training session involves having to solve some problems. One never knows when the Sun will erupt with deadly radiation headed toward the craft or when equipment might fail or there could be random asteroid damage.

“Houston, we have a problem” continues to be the familiar report when things go wrong. Family Space Days make the solutions available to everyone.

Interested? We thought you would be. Tickets for Family Space Day are available online until Friday at 5:00 p.m. for $10 per person.

DiscoveryDome

But there’s more! When families come to Family Space Day, we also have the innovative and immersive “Discovery Dome” — a portable planetarium! — showing We Choose Space. Tickets are available at the gift shop for $3 per person. Telescope tickets are also available for $5 per person at 5:00 p.m. for viewing when it gets dark.

What’s better than a day of discovery with the family? For more information or to purchase tickets, click here!