Press Release for Go For Launch! Durham

Contact: Michelle Lucas
Higher Orbits

Students Compete for the Opportunity to Have Experiments Launch into Space
March 15, 2016 Leesburg, Virginia — Higher Orbits is set to host its Go For Launch! program at Stanford L. Warren Branch Library in Durham, NC April 10-12, 2017. Students in grades 8-12 from any area school are welcome to attend 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 first in North Carolina.

The students will participate in collaborative activities and develop an idea for a space experiment to be presented to a panel of judges. The judges choose one winning experiment at each Go For Launch! event that will go on to compete for the overall Divisional title, the winner of which will have their experiment launched into space. Registration for students is being covered in full for this event by Durham County Library and includes all supplies, snacks, and meals as well as event shirt and patch. Space is limited to 50 students but there are still spaces avialble! To register, or for more information, please visit

Through participation in Go For Launch!, students learn about human spaceflight through a variety of hands-on activities delivered by experienced industry professionals. Speakers scheduled to participate in this event include retired Astronaut Don Thomas, former International Space Station Flight Controller and Astronaut Instructor Michelle Lucas and more. The goal is to inspire tomorrow’s scientists and engineers by illustrating the numerous opportunities that exist in STEM-related careers.

“With all the high tech companies and innovative work being done in The Research Triangle, I’m sure we will see many outstanding proposals for student experiments to fly aboard the International Space Station as part of the Go For Launch! program in Durham on April 10-12,” said Astronaut (Retired) Don Thomas. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet and work with this talented group of future scientists and engineers!”

“We are excited to have recently announced that our first Go For Launch! 2016 Division winner will have their experiment launched to the International Space Station in 2017,” said Michelle Lucas, Founder of Higher Orbits. “Our ongoing journey to space inspires all ages and we are lucky to have partners in communities such as Durham to help us spread that message.”

“Durham County Library is so excited to be a participate in, and sponsor for the Go For Launch! program,” said Matthew Clobridge, Director of Technology for Durham County Library. “This program allows us to introduce local students to space exploration through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programming and expose them to real life leaders in the field. We hope to encourage the youth in our community to strive towards future careers in science, engineering and related fields.”

Go For Launch! Durham is made possible by Big Bang Sponsor Durham County Library with the support of Intergalactic Sponsors: Space Tango, Kentucky Space, uniphi space agency 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. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the Durham event.

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 Astronaut (Retired) Don Thomas
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Dr. Thomas has served in the Safety, Operations Development, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office. He was CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for Shuttle missions STS-47, 52 and 53. From July 1999 to June 2000 he was Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, STS-65, STS-70, STS-83 and STS-94, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space as a Mission Specialist. To learn more visit

Media note: Additional Photo Collaterals, including an event patch, are available. Astronaut interview also available. For more details please contact Michelle Lucas at or call 281-451-5343.

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