NASA's Next-Generation Spacecraft to Land at Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center

Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center) announced today that the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), NASA's newly developed successor to the Space Shuttle, will be on display June 24 and 25 at the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee, Florida. By hosting the MPCV, the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center offers the public a unique opportunity to meet the people and technologies of NASA's future space missions. NASA astronauts Charles Hobough and Jeff Williams, who have spent a combined total of nearly 400 days in space, will participate in presentations and Q&A sessions, along with aerospace engineers from NASA and Lockheed Martin, which built the MPCV.

Incorporating the most advanced human spaceflight design and technologies, the MPCV is intended for crewed missions to an asteroid and then to Mars. It also will serve as a backup vehicle for cargo and crewed missions to the International Space Station. Seventeen feet wide, the capsule can support up to four crew members. The spacecraft is on its way by trailer truck from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will also stop at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas.

Challenger Center's educational mission was created as a lasting memorial to the educational commitment of the Challenger Space Shuttle and its crew, and we honor the past as we strengthen our nation's future by embracing and showcasing the next generation of manned space flight and NASA visionary new spacecraft at a Challenger Learning Center," said Scott Parazynski, chairman of Challenger Center's board of directors and a former NASA astronaut. "We're honored that NASA and Lockheed Martin are publicly introducing the MPCV at our Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center. Just as they're pioneering next-generation space travel, our 48 Challenger Learning Centers are pioneering the next-generation of STEM education and learning for tomorrow's astronauts, engineers and innovators."

The non-profit Challenger Center for Space Science Education is the nation's premier provider of science education and career inspiration and plays an essential leadership role in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Challenger Center was founded in 1986 to honor the educational mission of the seven fallen astronauts who flew aboard the Challenger space shuttle. Its national network of Challenger Learning Centers has engaged over 4 million students in simulated missions to the Moon, Mars, Comet Halley, and the asteroids, as well as in space-themed learning experiences.

Two Days of Extraordinary Space Science Education in addition to hosting the MPCV, astronauts, and aerospace engineers for a two day meet-and-greet, the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center will screen Hubble 3D at its IMAX theater at noon on both June 24 and 25, and children will be admitted free of charge to both shows. The film is a breathtaking documentary shot in space with an IMAX 3D camera of a shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

"When children come to our Challenger Learning Center for the next two days, there'll be no simulations-just real spacecraft, real astronauts, and real aerospace engineers," said Michelle Personette, director of the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center. "Our students, our Learning Center, and our entire community are fortunate to be able to see and learn about NASA's plans for space exploration."