Higher Orbits Go For Launch! Program Returns to Midland to Inspire Students to Reach for the Stars

Higher Orbits 

Michelle Lucas


Higher Orbits Go For Launch! Program Returns to Midland to Inspire Students to Reach for the Stars

Higher Orbits Galactic HQ – June 3, 2024 –Higher Orbits is on a mission to help high school students reach for the stars and discover their potential. Through a partnership with Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and Midland ISD, Higher Orbits is bringing its Go For Launch! program back to Midland, TX, June 11-12. The event will be the first of three events throughout the school year, as part of Go For Launch! Midland's Apollo series. This Apollo Series will be the third series of Go For Launch! events in Midland.

"Midland Development Corporation is proud to support Higher Orbits and the Go for Launch! program for another year," says Sarah Harris of the MDC. "With new projects coming from the Midland Spaceport, Go For Launch! works in conjunction to introduce Midland students to the exciting possibilities of the aerospace industry. We're proud of the success that has come from Go for Launch! and we look forward to the continued success of the program.

"Over the course of two days, students in grades 8-12 will participate in activities at Abell JH Library that are designed to help them develop critical skills needed for success in the workforce. Through these space-inspired activities, students have the opportunity to work in a group setting, and learn from aerospace professionals, who will serve as mentors throughout the event.

Retired NASA astronaut Jim "JR" Reilly will serve as the astronaut mentor for this event and is the 7th Astronaut Higher Orbits has brought to the Midland community for this space inspired STEM event.

"Midland Independent School District (ISD) is excited to ignite the curiosity and ambition of our students with the 'Go for Launch!' program," said executive director Jeff Horner. "This initiative aligns with our strategic plan by fostering innovative learning where students engage in rigorous and relevant experiences, preparing them for meaningful opportunities post-graduation. We're thrilled that series winners will have the extraordinary opportunity to see their experiments launched to the International Space Station and conducted in space by real astronauts!

"Go For Launch! is the hands-on flagship program of Higher Orbits, a non-profit that aims to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The program is designed for students of all backgrounds—from the STEM novice to the more experienced—with the hopes of helping ALL students gain the skills and confidence necessary to enter the workforce as the STEMists and Explorers of the future.

The students work with industry professionals on teamwork, communication, research design, and leadership skills. While focusing on spaceflight, Go For Launch!  students have the chance to work alongside a featured astronaut at each event to learn and develop important skills that can be applied in any professional field.

"We're excited to bring Go For Launch! back to Midland," said Michelle Lucas, founder and chief executive of Higher Orbits. "We run this program all across the country, offering kids the opportunity to connect with astronauts and other professionals that they normally wouldn't have access to. We're trying to show them that being a student who loves space and science is not only cool, it opens doors.

"Go For Launch! participants not only have access to incredible mentors, they also have the opportunity to compete to design an experiment that could fly to the International Space Station.

One lucky group will be selected as the first winners of the Go For Launch! Midland Apollo series event. Their group will then further compete against winning teams selected from two other Midland Apollo series events. One winner will be selected from this series and will have the chance to work with Space Tango, a Higher Orbits partner, who will build the overall winner's experiment. The experiment will then launch on a future cargo mission to the International Space Station.

The first Go For Launch! Midland student experiment launched to the International Space Station in March of this year. The second was selected last month and will fly in 2025. This Apollo Series will result in the third student experiment that will fly in space!

Go For Launch! Midland is open to students in grades 8-12 (including rising 8th graders and recently graduated seniors) and is restricted to only those residing in Midland, TX. Running June 11-12, 2024, Go For Launch! Midland will be held at the Abell JH Library. Interested students can register online at www.GoForLaunch.space. Financial aid is available to students who need assistance to attend this event.

Go For Launch! Midland is presented in partnership with Midland Development Corporation, MISD, and Chevron. Higher Orbits is truly honored to work with many communities, companies, and individuals. It's through these partnerships that the organization is able to inspire the next generation of STEMists and explorers—the future workforce of our country.

About Higher Orbits

Founded in 2015, Higher Orbits is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization creating an experiential learning lab for secondary school students across the United States, focused on the multi-faceted worlds of space exploration, research, and spaceflight in order to launch the next generation workforce our world desires. www.higherorbits.org


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