PRESS RELEASE – Go For Launch! Coming to Gilbert, AZ

Contact: Michelle Lucas
Higher Orbits


Nonprofit Uses Space Exploration to Promote Student Engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
January 23, 2016—Leesburg, Va.— Higher Orbits will host its first-ever Arizona Go For Launch! program at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, AZ. Local students, from any school, will have the opportunity to participate in the three-day program that that uses space exploration as a platform to launch student engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), STEAM (Art); teamwork; communication; and leadership. This event is the third of four in the Orbital ATK Division of Go For Launch!

Through their participation in Go For Launch! students will learn about human spaceflight and receive insight and feedback through a variety of hands-on activities delivered by experienced space and STEM professionals. Speakers scheduled to participate in this event include retired Astronaut Frank Culbertson, former ISS Flight Controller and Astronaut Instructor Michelle Lucas and other space & STEM professionals. The goal is to inspire tomorrow’s scientists and engineers by illustrating the numerous opportunities that exist in STEM-related careers

“Encouraging students to excel in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is an Orbital ATK core value,” said Frank Culbertson, President, Orbital ATK Space Systems Group. “We are honored to support this next generation of space explorers and inspire them to design innovative science experiments that could be flown to the International Space Station aboard our Cygnus spacecraft.”

The students will participate in collaborative activities and develop the idea for a space experiment, which they will present to a panel of judges in the space and STEM fields (including an astronaut). The judges will choose a winner at each Go For Launch! event. The winners from each event in the division will place their experiments in competition for the divisional title and that winner will see their experiment launched into space.

“We are very excited to have recently announced that our first Go For Launch! 2016 Andromeda Division winner will have its experiment launched to the International Space Station in 2017. It just so happens that it will be on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft!” said Michelle Lucas, Founder of Higher Orbits. “We are grateful to have Orbital ATK as a Division Sponsor and tremendous supporter of all things STEM. Our ongoing journey to space inspires all ages and we are so lucky to have industry experts as partners to help us spread that message.”

Go For Launch! will run February 18-20, 2017 for students grade 8-12. Students from all schools are welcome to attend. The program will be held at Mesquite High School in Gilbert, AZ. Registration for students is $250 and includes all supplies, snacks, and meals as well as event shirt and patch. To register, or for more information, please visit

“We are excited to be a part of Higher Orbits bringing ‘Go For Launch!’ to GPS students! It is a fantastic opportunity for our students to build vital leadership and problem solving skills, while also having the thrill of outer space as the backdrop for creating lifelong excitement in science related study,” said Dan Johnson, Principal of Mesquite Junior High School

Go For Launch! in Gilbert, AZ is supported by following Sponsors – Division Sponsor Orbital ATK, Solar System Explorer Gilbert Education Foundation, Mars Rover Sponsor Planet Subs and Intergalactic Sponsors: AIAA, Space Tango, Kentucky Space, and Space Shirts. Without these sponsors, this event would not be possible. Sponsorship opportunities are available at various levels for individual events, divisions, or the overall program. For more details please contact Michelle Lucas at or call 707-893-STAR.

About Higher Orbits
Higher Orbits is a 501(c)3 non-profit with the mission of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); along with leadership, teamwork, and communication through the use of spaceflight. Mankind’s journey into space serves as an ideal launchpad to excite students of all ages about STEM and working to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. Higher Orbits uses a variety of programs and partnerships with other organizations to achieve these goals and is excited to be holding events across the US in 2017. To learn more visit

About Orbital ATK
Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit

About Astronaut (Retired) Frank Culbertson
Captain Frank Culbertson (US Navy, Retired) flew as the pilot on STS-38 and the Commander of STS-51. He then served as the Shuttle-Mir Program Manager before flying to the International Space Station as the Commander of Expedition 3. Today, Culbertson serves as the President of the Space Systems Group at Orbital ATK. To learn more, visit

Additional Photo Collaterals, including event patch available. Astronaut interview also available. Please contact for details.

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