Designed in cooperation with NASA, the Challenger Learning Center is an interactive educational program, using the excitement of space flight simulation to inspire students. As your students participate in one of three mission scenarios, they apply math, science, technology, and language arts to solve real-life challenges, raising their expectation of success and inspiring them to “reach for the stars”.

All students experience both Mission Control (modeled after the Johnson Space Center) and the Spacecraft (a lab in a futuristic space vehicle). In the Spacecraft, students conduct science experiments, record measurements, operate robotic arms, build a probe, and navigate through space. In Mission Control they use computers for research, use math to analyze data, and monitor the status of the mission. Everyone uses teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills to resolve emergencies and accomplish mission objectives.

This engaging program was created by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international non-profit organization founded in 1986 by the families of the seven astronauts who were lost during the last flight of the Challenger Space Shuttle.

All teachers attending their first Challenger Mission must attend a complimentary half-day training workshop prior to bringing students to the program. Siblings are not allowed in the Challenger Mission.

micrologowithspacestationIf you are looking for a space program for grades K–4 please visit our MICRONAUTS program page.


Grades 5–8

Comet Halley is returning to our part of the solar system in 2061. A team of astronauts construct a probe, plot an intercept course, and navigate the spacecraft in search of the comet. The objective is to launch the probe through the comet’s tail, and collect data for research.


Grades 5–8

It is now 2076. Astronauts have occupied a research station on Mars for two years. A new team makes the six-month journey from Earth to replace the crew and continue exploring the red planet. The two teams work together to bring the spacecraft in for a successful landing, and launch probes to study the two moons of Mars.


Grades 5–8

It is now 2020, and American astronauts are returning to the Moon to establish a permanent off-Earth settlement. As they navigate into lunar orbit the team must select a suitable landing site by analyzing data gathered from the lunar surface. This mission begins a new era in human space exploration.

Mission Fee: $550 includes classroom curriculum for pre-mission preparation, a 2–1/2 hour simulated mission for 16 to 32 students, and post-mission classroom activities.

Mission times: 9:00–11:30 am or 12:15–2:45 pm.

Payment terms: $250 deposit is due no later than 30 days after making the reservation.

Final payment is due no later than 14 days prior to the program date. $25 charge for cancellations or date changes made 31 to 60 days prior to the original program date. $50 charge for cancellations or date changes less than 30 days before the original program date. A $20 fee will be charged for each late payment.

***We allow one adult in free for every six students for all on-site programs at the Powerhouse Science Center. Teachers ARE counted in this one to six ratio. Any additional adults (space permitting) will be charged $5 each. Any additional adults with you on the day of your program will be required to pay at the front desk. 

Scholarships: A limited number of need-based scholarships are available each year.


As a leader in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its international network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers use space-themed simulated learning environments to engage students in dynamic, hands-on opportunities. These experiences strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Learning Center Sacramento is part of the global network that reaches hundreds of thousands of students and tens of thousands of teachers each year. Founded in 1986, Challenger Center was created to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51L. To learn more, visit


Ready to take flight? Give us a call at 916.485.8836.