• May 19, 2022
 Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: NM Museum of Space History offering Rocketeer Academy in a Box

Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: NM Museum of Space History offering Rocketeer Academy in a Box

With the dust still settling at launch pad 39A in Florida, kids across the nation are once again dreaming of careers with NASA and SpaceX. The New Mexico Museum of Space History is here to inspire young minds in a whole new way!

Although they have canceled their very popular Rocketeer Academy on campus summer program for June and July due to the continuing pandemic, they realize that kids need a distraction that’s fun, interesting, and educational while they’re at home. This is why Museum educators and staff have put together just that with this new virtual summer camp – Rocketeer Academy in a Box!

Each virtual camp consists of an hour-long interactive online educator led session Mon-Thurs, with a wrap up online each Friday. Online sessions begin at 10:00 am daily. Parents will be emailed the link where the programs will be hosted.

Each cadet needs a good Internet connection and a computer (or smartphone or tablet) with a microphone and camera. These virtual camps are open to cadets who have completed grades 4–7. Classes are limited to 24 cadets per session, although multiple children in one household can attend and receive a registration discount.

Everything the cadet needs to complete the virtual camp will be shipped to their home, although they will need to provide their own computer (or tablet or smartphone) with a camera and microphone, along with reliable internet.

The registration deadline will be two weeks prior to the start of each camp to provide ample time for shipping. Cost for the camp is $110 per cadet per week, $75 per additional child in the same household.

Museum members receive a discounted rate of $85 per cadet, and $75 per additional child in the same household.

The outline for the virtual camp programs is below:

Junior Pilot Program – June 15-19, July 6-10, July 20-24

Virtual Classes: Mon-Thurs 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Virtual Q&A: Mon – Thurs 11:00 am – 11:30 am

Virtual Show and Tell: Fri 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Spaghetti anyone?: Cadets design and build a spacecraft structure from spaghetti. The one that uses the least material and supports a small weight wins.

Stomp Rockets: Cadets build an air-pressure launcher based on PVC
tubing and 2-liter soda bottle and rocket from paper template; launch and measure altitude. Experiment with variations in designs (builds beyond our initial on-line video).

Homemade Gliders: Cadets build a basic glider and learn how to control it in flight; experiment with variations.

Houston, the Peeps Have Landed: Cadets collaborate on-line in teams, and then each cadet builds his/her own lunar lander and presents tests to class.

Junior Scientist Program – June 22-26, July 13-17, July 27- 31​

​Virtual Classes: Mon-Thurs 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Virtual Q&A Mon – Thurs 11:00 am – 11:30 am

Virtual Show and Tell: Fri 10:00 am – 11:00 am​

Solar spectroscope: Build a simple spectroscope from a cardboard box
and DVD or CD. Observe differences in light from various sources; record on smartphone camera.

Paging Dr. Droid: Cadets perform a telemedicine exercise where they
role-play as surgeon and robot and operate on a “tortilla body” over the Internet. The surgeon cannot touch the body, and the robot cannot think. At the end, you propose ideas for robotic surgery tools.

Fast Chemistry: Cadets learn how chemical reaction rates vary with
temperatures and mixtures, first by mixing seltzer with water, and then by making “elephant toothpaste.”

Gas Laws: Cadets learn the gas laws by various hands-on demos including a garbage bag in a can, an inverted cup full of water, steel wool above a bowl of water, and other materials.​

Registration for the virtual Rocketeer Academy in a Box is available on the museum’s website. For more information, email msh.info@state.nm.us.

Cadets who have already been signed up for the on-campus program will be given the opportunity to transfer to the virtual camp or receive a full refund. Notices to parents will be sent via email.


If you have any questions, feel free to email me at lunapoetic@gmail.com, or check out my Facebook Page to submit your questions there.

To view Amy’s previous columns, click here.

Amy Cooley

A native El Pasoan, Amy Cooley attended Parkland High School before beginning her studies in physics at EPCC. With her love of dark skies increasing, she transferred to New Mexico Tech University where she earned her degree in Astronomy. Moving back to El Paso in 2008, she now wants to share her love of the cosmos with the city she calls home.

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