The newly constructed Scobee Education Center at San Antonio College aims to honor and carry on the mission of the seven crew members who lost their lives in 1986 aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger STS- 51L. In this episode, SciTech Now takes you inside the Scobee Education Center, home to the Scobee Planetarium, Challenger Learning Center and rooftop star deck and observatory, which is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults through unique, mind-stimulating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) focused programs.
Named after shuttle commander Francis R. (Dick) Scobee and his wife, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, both alums of San Antonio College, the center opened its doors in October 2014 following two years of construction. Since then, it has quickly gained popularity in space science education. At the heart of it all is the Scobee Planetarium and star deck and observatory, both staples to the community for over 50 years. With the new expansion, they offer public viewings every Friday night following the 9 p.m. planetarium programming. The observatory houses a 10-inch refractor telescope and features a 360-degree rotating dome and panel which opens 90-degrees, enabling star gazing in any direction.
In addition to the planetarium, star deck and observatory, the Scobee Education Center houses the Challenger Learning Center used to teach students about space missions. Using an interactive computer stimulator, students are transported to a mission control room and space station where they work in teams of engineers and scientists to complete a mission. The Earth Odyssey Mission, currently in rotation, is a mission lasting two to three hours and is customized according to grade level ability. The modules encourage teamwork, communication and space science and are open to grade levels fifth through eighth. For grades pre-k to fourth, the Micronauts program enables students to explore hands-on STEM activities in the International Space Station (ISS).
Catch this episode of SciTech Now airing Friday, Dec. 2. At 7:30 p.m. on KLRN.