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Flight Night Space Week coming to Union

Originally posted May 5, 2016

Flight Night Space Week set to bring former NASA astronaut and shuttle pilot to Tulsa-area schools

Goal is to encourage student interest in science, technology, engineering and math, inspire students to pursue careers in those fields

Former NASA astronaut and shuttle pilot Paul Lockhart will share his enthusiasm about careers in space exploration with area elementary school students, including students at McAuliffe and Cedar Ridge Elementary, as part of Flight Night Space Week, May 9 - 14.

Lockhart is set to relate why studying science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is the first step toward many exciting space-focused careers. Flight Night Space Week will reinforce the concepts Lockhart presents by also engaging students in related STEM classroom activities and an essay contest and by offering a day dedicated to professional development opportunities for teachers.

“Many years ago the bright stars above the broad plains of Texas and Oklahoma sent me on my path to becoming an astronaut,” Lockhart said. “I am now excited about meeting with young space explorers in and around Tulsa and learning about the many paths they will take in their exciting futures. I hope to meet the first American to walk on Mars during my visit to Tulsa!”

In addition to his time at area elementary schools, Lockhart will join a panel discussion during a free public presentation and planetarium show. See full press release at the download link on this page.

“This special week-long focus on space exploration encourages student enthusiasm for STEM careers,” Flight Night co-chairman Bailey J. Siegfried said. “To reach space, you first have to get off the ground. In terms of pursing STEM studies, our kids can’t ‘get off the ground’ unless they are aware of what’s possible, believe they can succeed and are inspired to try.”

Wed., May 11

8:15  – 10:30 a.m.

Audience with an Astronaut; Hand-on STEM Activities

Union: McAuliffe Elementary Grades K-5


Noon – 2:15 p.m.

Audience with an Astronaut; Hand-on STEM Activities

Union: Cedar Ridge Elementary Grades K-5


While the elementary school presentations are not open to the general public, all members of the community are welcome to attend a free planetarium show entitled “Passport to the Universe” and panel discussion , Thursday, May 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Jenks Planetarium, 205 E. 8th Street.

Developed by the American Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the NASA, the planetarium show “traverses billions of light years, taking an incredible journey from our home planet and the Milky Way galaxy to the edge of the universe. Audiences fly beneath the rings of Saturn, into the heart of the Orion Nebula, and out into the vastness of the observable universe, experiencing stunning cosmic destinations as never before possible.”

The panel discussion will focus on the future of space exploration, the importance of a space program, how the space program has improved life on earth through technological advancement and inspiring the next generation of explorers.

Panelists include:

•    Bryan DeBates, M.Ed., senior director, education, Space Foundation – moderator;

•    Paul Lockhart, former NASA astronaut and shuttle pilot and current chief of research for Pemdas Technologies and Innovations;

•    Lane Matheson, former engineering subcontractor to NASA on the International Space Station project and current teacher of engineering robotics, AP calculus and AP physics at Tulsa’s Memorial High School;

•    Donna Shirley, former director of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Due to limited seating for the public event, registration is required in advance in the” Planetarium” section of For additional ticket information, call (918) 298-0340.

To help support future events like Space Week, make plans to attend the Flight Night 2016 gala, set for Thurs., Sept. 15 at Jones Riverside Airport in Tulsa. For event information, visit,, or follow the nonprofit on Twitter at @flightnightUSA.