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American Center Spaceweek Program

AMC Space Camp – STEM Program for School Students

In October – November 2018 American Center conducted AMC Space Camp educational program designed for 20 students aged 12 – 19. The program was aimed to enhance knowledge of the US – Russia Space cooperation among youth; actualize their knowledge of Physics and gain basic skills in Astrophysics and Space Engineering; acquire project management skills; give talented youth a chance to propose their own solution to an acute space exploration task.

The program was divided into three parts: Learn, Connect and Produce. An intensive schedule implied multiple lectures, visits to museums, independent group work under the auspices of an expert and the final day with presentations of their projects.

During the ‘Learn’ day of the program participants listened to three lectures from experts in astrophysics, history of space exploration and space engineering.

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The first lecture was delivered online by Marat Musin, an astrophysicist and a graduate of the University of Missouri who is doing his postdoc at the National Astronomy Observatory of China. Marat spoke about being an astrophysicist and compared space education in Russia and the United States. Additionally, he described the most challenging problems in contemporary astrophysics that each of the young listeners might potentially be solving in the future if he or she makes this career choice.

The second lecture was given by Ekaterina Efremova, a graduate student at the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Ekaterina gave an interactive an engaging lecture about the history of space exploration and the cooperation of Russia and the USA in space exploration.

The third lecture was presented by Alexander Shaenko, an astropreneur who set up a team to build the first ever crowd-funded satellite in Russia, the “Mayak” CubeSat. Alexander spoke about the path that led him to come up with the idea of launching a crowd-funded satellite. On the example of his project, the Space Campers learned the basics of space engineering and space mechanics, and inherited Alexander’s experience in start-up acceleration and STEM project management.

During the second day the Space Camp team made two outreaches to museums. Participants visited the Cosmonautics Museum in Moscow and exhibition “Space” at VDNKh in Moscow. The excursion to the Space Pavilion at VDNKh, Russia’s one of the newest and most interactive science museum, allowed attendees to get unique hands-on experience of interacting with space objects, whereas the second tour around the Cosmonautics Museum immersed the group into a lasting historic Space Oddity journey.
The third day of the Space Camp was dedicated to practical work. Students worked together in a “Space Lab” was led by Alexander Shaenko to create a joint project that would solve a problem of data communication and signal transmission in space. Participants were divided into three groups: one group worked theorists and project managers, and their task was to create a pitch for the prototypes of the two other technical groups of engineers. The two other groups worked on their prototypes of signal transmission devices deploying Arduino, C++, and various sensors. One more expert, Nikita Suetin, Polytechnic Museum educator, provided them technical assistance and explained the basics of Arduino programing.
Project Description

As a result of the three-days’ work, the three teams created a project description and its presentation, and two working Arduino prototypes. One technical group developed a way of transmitting a signal (Morze or any other form of information like the binary numeral system) from a 38 Gigahertz Arduino-programmed transmitter to another Arduino-programmed receiver. Another group of students suggested an optic way of transmitting a signal via an infrared transmitter and a respective receiver with an automated system of signal coordination powered by servo motors. The official part was followed up by an awards ceremony and an informal Space Party. The teenagers had a chance to taste space food, chat, dance, get to know each other better and make plans for joint projects.


Participants highly rated the program. A lot of them said that participation in the program influenced their career decision. “We created the prototype of the project that is able to send information on a distance” – stated one of the participants in the questionnaire. The Spacecamp program improved half of the participants teamwork skills and presentation skills. “I learned a lot about coding on Arduino and developed my teamwork skills”, – Natalia said. Another participant said that the program helped him to better get on with his team.

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