May 11, 2016
Contact: Michelle Lucas
Higher Orbits


Nonprofit Brings Astronaut to Leominster & Uses Space Exploration to Foster Student Engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

May 11, 2016Leesburg, Va.Higher Orbits today announced that it will host its first Massachusetts Go For Launch! program at The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster August 15-17, 2016. Middle school aged students in the area 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.


Through their participation in Go For Launch! students learn about human spaceflight and get insight and feedback through a variety of talks delivered by experienced space and STEM professionals. Speakers scheduled to participate in this event include retired Astronaut Don Thomas, former ISS Flight Controller and Astronaut Instructor Michelle Lucas, and others. The goal is to illustrate the numerous opportunities that exist in STEM-related careers.


“I’m excited to be attending the “Go for Launch” program in Leominster, MA from August 15-17 and am looking forward to sharing with the students my experiences from my four missions aboard the Space Shuttle,” says Astronaut (retired) Don Thomas. “I love the idea of exciting and inspiring our next generation of scientists, engineers, astronauts, and explorers through these programs. You never know, one of these students could end up going to Mars one day!”


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. Winners from each event in the division will compete for the divisional title and those winners will have their experiments launched into space.


“As someone who grew up in love with space travel but without many options to have interactions where I could learn more,” said Michelle Lucas, Founder of Higher Orbits, “I’m excited to be able to bring the Go For Launch! program right to students in their hometown areas. Space inspires and I can’t wait to share that message with the students in Massachusetts.”


Go For Launch! will run August 15-17, 2016 for all interested middle school aged students and will be held at The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster – 365 Lindell Ave, Leominster, MA. Registration for students is $250 and includes all supplies and meals. To register, or for more information, please visit


“This is an exciting opportunity for our Club to offer central Massachusetts youth, a summer program of this significance. It so complements our STEM and STEAM programming. The three days of NASA activities and actually meeting and working with NASA personnel, will spark interest in many fields of study and careers,” says Donata Martin, Executive Director Boys & Girls Club Fitchburg & Leominster.


Higher Orbits is supported by Intergalactic Sponsors: Space Tango, Kentucky Space, and eddi who help make all Go For Launch! events possible. Sponsorship opportunities are still 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. 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


About The Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster (BGCFL) is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. The Club staff recognizes that learning doesn’t stop after school is over for the day, and as a result each Club member who walks through the door each afternoon has the opportunity to participate in quality STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) focused activities. The Club is different from others – the BGCFL offers programs like beekeeping, aviation, robotics, and Imagine Mars, allowing members to interact with STEAM professionals and encouraging the pursuit of learning and higher education. Here, learning becomes synonymous with Club activities, and members can’t wait to join in the fun


Additional Collaterals Including Logos and Photos available at





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