30th Space Wing partners with Discovery Museum to create space launch exhibit

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CA – The local community doesn’t always get to peek inside Vandenberg Air Force Base and see its role in launching and landing space vehicles. But for some of its younger residents, that’s about to change. A new educational partnership agreement between the 30th Space Wing and the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is going to provide area students with hands-on experience of the aerospace industry.


An EPA is a technology transfer agreement between a defense laboratory and an educational institution for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing study in scientific disciplines at all levels of education.


Under the new agreement, the 30th Space Wing will be able to further its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics outreach efforts by modifying and donating a subscale Discovery Space Shuttle that will be added to the museum’s existing Mission to Mars climbing wall exhibit. Students and visitors will be able to climb onboard the shuttle and imagine what it’s like to be a pilot. The shuttle is expected to be delivered in early 2017.


“Partnering with the museum is an excellent way to achieve our STEM outreach goals and show the 31,000 students that visit the museum each year what a career with the Air Force at Vandenberg has to offer,” said Thomas Stevens, Technical Director of the 30th Launch Group and Base STEM coordinator.


In addition to the shuttle, the 30th Space Wing is collaborating with the museum on a new simulated space launch exhibit called the Vandenberg Launch Experience. The exhibit will allow the students to act as a launch operator and will include a set of consoles with a large screen video display to simulate a launch into space. The exhibit will be delivered in phases beginning in 2017 and will include scheduled events with Air Force representatives who will interact with the students during missions.


“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the 30th Space Wing to bring much-needed STEM educational opportunities and an exciting interactive space launch exhibit to the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum,” said Chris Slaughter, executive director of the museum.  “As the only children's museum in Santa Barbara County for 20 years, we will be exposing over 31,000 children and their families every year to the vast world of launch activities through engaging, fun hands-on exhibits and programs.”


This agreement was facilitated by the Air Force Technology Transfer Program office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. For more information about technology transfer opportunities with the Air Force, call the Air Force Technology Transfer Program Office at 937-904-9830.