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All About Space Club

Space Club engages youth with space exploration and builds a foundation of STEM skills through real-world engineering design challenges.

Teams, backed by their supportive friends and family members in the stands, await the opening of the Space Colony Competition.

How did all of this start?

Back in 2014, pursuing a passion for education, I (Natasha) left a career in aerospace engineering to join the non-profit Communities In Schools of San Antonio.


I was tasked with developing a STEM club that would connect with at-risk youth who had trouble finding the motivation to stay in school. I wanted to find a way to attract all students and avoid any preconceived notions about STEM. So I started Space Club in 2014 with the thought that giving students a window into the beauty of space—and teaching the journey of humankind's exploration of other worlds—is a powerful tool to inspire and engage interest in science and engineering.

I will never forget the first day of Space Club. Sixty students stood in line to attend the first meeting, and they all packed inside a tiny portable to hear me talk about space exploration. That year, we launched rockets, designed a colony on Mars, and even deployed a weather balloon to 100,000 feet! Since then, Space Club has grown to serve over 1,500 students, includes a network of teachers and STEM mentors, and hosts an annual Space Colony Competition.

I started Space Club because of my educational background, but I did not expect the awesome impact that launching a rocket and imagining a colony on Mars can have on a student's confidence and dreams.

And now we are excited to be able to bring Space Club to students around the world!

Mars Planning 2.jpg
Natasha, in 2019, listening in as students discuss their plan to establish a base on Mars.

Why should we teach kids about space?

Every child has looked up at the twinkling stars on a clear night and wondered about the vastness above. The night sky captures a child's imagination and leads to profound thoughts and questions about our place in the world. The need to explore and discover is a common thread among humans, and the greatest unknowns lay in the night sky above us. Giving students a window into the beauty of space and teaching the journey of humankind's exploration of other worlds is a powerful tool to inspire and engage an interest in science and engineering.


In our years running Space Club, we have witnessed the awesome impact that launching a rocket or imagining a colony on Mars can have on a student's confidence and dreams.

The 2019 Mars Competition 1st place team receiving their awards.

What is the purpose of Space Club?

The main goal of Space Club is to connect academic subjects to a real-world engineering problem through engaging, hands-on learning.


The curriculum is not meant to replace math and science courses. Instead, Space Club reinforces concepts taught in the classroom and provides an opportunity to apply knowledge.


Some outcomes we aim to bring to your STEM program include: 

  1. Increase academic confidence

  2. Increase awareness of STEM careers

  3. Increase interest in STEM careers

  4. Increase persistence in STEM pathways

Students discuss their design process and solutions to challenges with local STEM professionals volunteering as judges.

What is the Engineering Design Process?

In STEM learning, students apply math and science concepts to solve an engineering problem using technology. Students tackle these problems with the Engineering Design Process which helps them brainstorm, develop a design, test, and redesign for an optimal solution. However, the Engineering Design Process should not be confused with the commonly used Scientific Method. The table below describes the differences between science and engineering. We recommend that instructors fully understand these differences and emphasize during the program.

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