Press Release
Mission Discovery Louisville
April 9, 2015

      On March 21-22, 2015 and March 28-29, 2015, over 60 high school and college students from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky met at the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville for the inaugural Louisville Mission Discovery Science Camp.

     The purpose of the camp was to allow students to work together in teams to design science experiments that could be influenced by the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). Higher Orbits partnered with Kentucky Space, Space Tango and the Kentucky Science Center to help develop a program that promotes student leadership through Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM.

     Rowan County Senior High School (RCSHS) sophomore Jasarae McKinney, along with RCSHS alumni Taylor Cash and Emma Marriner joined with three other team members, Shaye Allen and Raven Tindall from Presentation Academy and Julia Smith from Ballard High School, to form a team they named “The Circuiteers.” The all-woman team brainstormed during the two-weekend STEM camp to come up with a science experiment that could be sent to the ISS and observed during its three-month stay.

     “We started looking at the orange fan sponges and their properties of cell regeneration,” said Jasarae. “When this sponge is damaged, it can regenerate its cells and repair itself. What we wondered was if the fan sponges would regenerate their cells faster and more freely in space and whether the microgravity environment would affect the function of the sponge.”

The winning team, the Circuiteers, with the events judges 

The winning team, the Circuiteers, with the events judges 

     “I am so proud of these young ladies,” said Jennifer Carter, former RCSHS space science teacher and current curriculum director for SpaceTrek. “This team, The Circuiteers, was the only all-woman team at Mission Discovery. Fifty percent were RCSHS students and all were alumni of SpaceTrek. Emma Marriner and Taylor Cash are majoring in Space Science at Morehead State University.”
On March 29, 2015, after the seven teams presented their ideas and designs, and after much deliberation by the Mission Discovery administration, including Tara Ruttley, Associate ISS Program Scientist; Michelle Lucas, President of Higher Orbits; Former Astronaut Frank Culbertson and Twyman Clements CEO of Space Tango, The Circuiteers were unanimously selected as the winning team. Their winning science experiment will take off for the International Space Station in late 2015.

Mission Discovery Louisville
Dates: March 21 - 22 & 28 - 29 
Kentucky Science Center


What is Mission Discovery?
Mission Discovery is a 4-day space camp for 8th grade-Undergrad students which will be held over two consecutive weekends at the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville, KY. Campers have the opportunity to work with REAL ASTRONAUTS to design an experiment proposal for the International Space Station (ISS). At the end of camp, student teams will present their ideas to judges and the winning team’s experiment will actually fly to the ISS.  

Why Kentucky?
There are only SEVEN mission discovery camps happening this year in locations all over the globe including England and Germany and now Kentucky! Kentucky Space LLC has partnered with Higher Orbits and the Kentucky Science Center to bring Kentucky a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kentucky is a world leader in small satellite technologies and is now producing the TangoLab, a commercial research facility on the ISS. A few lucky campers will have their experiment on this groundbreaking lab aboard the ISS. 

How much is Mission Discovery?

  • $500 dollars per student which includes breakfast and lunch for the four day event. 
  • Scholarships and Fundraising are both possibilities.
  • The first 40 people to sign up using the Promo Code: 25scholarship will receive a $125 dollar discount.
  • Groups - Special discounts are available for multiple students and their teacher from a single school. The teacher will be asked to act as a volunteer mentor and chaperone.
  • If money is the only thing keeping a student from being able to attend, please let us know so we can try to help find funding for that student. 

Meet the Astronauts
Douglas “Wheels” Wheelock is an American astronaut. He has flown in space twice, logging 178 days on the Space Shuttle, International Space Station, and Russian Soyuz. Doug was a Mission Specialist on flight STS-120 and a Flight Engineer for Expedition 24/25. He is an Army Colonel and an Army Aviator.


Hoot Gibson is a retired NASA Astronaut. He flew five missions in space: STS-41-B in 1984, STS-61-C in 1986, STS-27 in 1988, STS-47 in 1992, and STS-71 in 1995. He served as Chief of the Astronaut Office and as Deputy Director Flight Crew Operations during that time. Hoot is now also a member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame as well as the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Want to Sponsor/Donate?
Sponsorships and donations are welcome and NEEDED. Every $500 dollars donated equals one full student scholarship with tax deductions available if done through the proper channels.

Teachers wanting to join in the fun? 
Teachers bringing students to Mission Discovery can be a part of the camp as a mentor for no cost. Mentors will be asked to participate by answering basic science questions posed by students and will also get the chance to make contacts with some of the brightest minds in Space Science for future use. We encourage all interested teachers to try to bring 5+ students. We are willing to help fundraising and scholarship once we have committed teachers and students.

Questions or more info?
Please fill out the form block at the bottom of this page and we will get back to you. 

Mission Discovery Louisville Full Brochure
Mission Discovery Louisville One Page Brochure 

Sign Up & Videos
To sign up or just learn more about past camps go to
 Video of the Scotland Mission Discovery.
 Video of the Interview with London Mission Discovery Winners.

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