CASE Junior Space School

This is astronaut training for youth and is an engaging hands-on adventure. During a week in Huntsville, Alabama, students learn about the history of space travel and the development of space-related technology in the most motivational surroundings. In small teams, they are lead through several simulated missions where they must work together to visit and repair the international space station or land an exploration rover on Mars. 



The students also have a week in Houston touring the Johnson Space Center, NASA’s leading facility. They see the latest technology in development and visit the real Mission Control Center. The Junior Space School program is focused on providing relevance to, and inspiring passion for STEAM. While in Houston they also participate in broader ‘earth’ science exploration with activities around marine biology, energy resources, forensics and robotics. It is a highly interactive program. Every step of the way they are guided to build skills in goal setting, project planning and problem solving. 

The ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ is the foundation of the Junior program’s personal development.  Stephen Covey’s bestselling management book was adapted by his son, Sean Covey, to apply the teachings to teenagers.  In interactive sessions Space School students learn these Habits each day, with the opportunity to apply them throughout their expedition, and the encouragement to adopt them in their daily life at home. 

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Development of critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Skills in goal setting and project planning to set and achieve targets
  • Effectiveness in collaborative teamwork
  • Application of STEAM in challenging space missions
  • Greater initiative, responsibility and leadership through influence
  • Curiosity and imagination
  • Pursuit of personal values and long-term goals




Amazing Activities

CASE Junior Space School Program integrates culture, space, science, medicine and marine life for high impact learning experience. Students will get to know what it takes to become a scientist, flight commander and astronaut by taking part in mission simulator training, interactive projects and inspiring team activities.

The CASE Junior Space Program includes site tours of America’s leading Space Centers in Houston Texas and Huntsville Alabama where students will actively take part in training exercise, simulators and lectures.

This two week program abroad will provide students with critical life skills for personal success through hands on problem based learning, tied with immersive NASA coursework.

  • This is the only international camp our daughter will be going on in her high school years. It exceeded all our expectations and provided a real life experience that I doubt any other school program could match. Students that are STEM minded need to seriously consider this space camp!”

    Louise Hince, Parent of Year 10 student at Ivanhoe Girl’s Grammar School, Australia


Astronaut Training

Experience astronaut training mission simulators throughout the expedition. 

  • 5 Degrees of Freedom Chair (5DF)

    Astronaut Training 5 Degrees of Freedom Chair (5DF) The 5DF was used by the Gemini and Apollo programs in the 1960s for astronauts to practice moving in a friction less environment. This trainer allows astronauts to move in five different directions: Forward and backward Roll Yaw Side to side Pitch
  • Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU)

    The Manned Maneuvering Unit allowed astronauts to perform untethered EVA spacewalks at a distance from the Space Shuttle to perform repairs, satellite retrieval and other activities where a tethered EVA wouldn’t be possible. The Manned Maneuvering Unit-1 G trainer simulates the friction less environment outside of a space vehicle and gives students the opportunity to experience what it is like to operate in the micro gravity of space. The MMU uses the same 5 degrees of freedom as the 5DF. Forward and backward Roll Yaw Side to side Pitch
  • 1/6 Gravity Chair

    The 1/6th Gravity Chair simulates walking on the lunar surface by suspending the user in a chair connected to a series of springs on a rail. It is designed to simulate the Moon’s gravitational pull, which is 1/6 that of Earth’s. This means that if you weigh 60 kilos on earth, you would only weigh 10 kilos on the moon. The Apollo astronauts found that walking on the moon wasn’t as easy as walking on Earth an discovered three kinds of movements that makes walking on the lunar surface a piece of cake. These movements are: The Bunny Hop Side-to-Side Slow Motion Jog
  • Multi-Axis Trainer (MAT)

    The Multi-Axis Trainer is designed to simulate disorientation that an astronaut would feel during a tumble spin which might occur on re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The student is strapped in a chair that spins on three axes causing disorientation to its occupant. The MAT is patterned after the Multiple-Axis Spin/Space Test Inertia Facility (MASTIF) which was used by astronaut during training the Mercury program. Multi-Axis Trainer simulates disorientation.

Inspirational motivators


An unforgettable experience awaits all CASE Senior Space School expedition members. During personalised presentations and special event lunches, students hear directly from guest speakers including astronauts, NASA scientists engineers and CASE Special Advisor Ms Nicole Stott.

Ms Nicole Stott, former NASA Astronaut and Flight Simulation Engineer, 2 space missions with a 7-hour long space walk, first astronaut to paint in space and Special Advisor to CASE.

Nicole Stott

Ms Nicole Stott, former NASA Astronaut and Flight Simulation Engineer, 2 space missions with a 7-hour long space walk, first astronaut to paint in space and Special Advisor to CASE.

Amazing Locations

CASE Junior Space School Program has actively partnered with Space Center Houston and several other educational institutes to develop a course that inspires, motivates, and creates a positive learning environment for its students.

Students will have the opportunity to visit prestigious locations across Houston and take part in space mission simulations, scientific experiments and incentive courses.

Throughout the program, students will be encouraged to think independently and propose innovative solutions to problems, which they may encounter.



Visit Prestigious Locations Across Houston and Huntsville

  • Space Center Houston / NASA Johnson Space Center

    Space Center Houston / NASA Johnson Space Center

    Visit Space Centers and learn about the history of space exploration and space science. Space Center Houston is the Official Visitors Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) center for human spaceflight activities. It is a place where students can experience the wonders of space exploration. It’s one of the only places in the world where visitors can touch moon rocks, witness astronauts training and be taken on a behind the scenes tour of NASA.
  • U.S. Space & Rocket Center

    U.S. Space & Rocket Center

    Visit USSRC for astronaut training and to run your own simulated missions. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is a museum operated by the government of Alabama, showcasing rockets, achievements and artifacts of the U.S. space program. The idea for the museum was first proposed by Dr. Wernher von Braun, who led the efforts of the United States to land the first man on the moon.  The museum was opened in 1970, just after the second manned mission to the lunar surface. The U.S Space & Rocket Center offers space camps providing students with the opportunity to stay on the grounds and learn more about the space program through in-depth exposure and participation in simulators, lectures and training exercises.
  • DeBakey Cell Lab

    DeBakey Cell Lab

    Learn about the forensic science and take the role of a crime lab investigator.
  • Professional Lab

    Professional Lab

    Learn in-depth about marine biology and ecology through hands-on shark dissection.
  • Rice University

    Rice University

    Personally visit the location used by President Kennedy to deliver his bold “moon landing speech”.
  • Wiess Energy Hall

    Wiess Energy Hall

    Learn about the developments in global energy supply at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
  • NBA / MLB

    NBA / MLB

    Attend a professional sports game, and learn about sports development and commercial marketing.


: Houston Texas and Huntsville Alabama USA

Duration: 14 Days
Open to Students: Years 8, 9 and 10
Dates: During New Zealand school term breaks

 Junior Space School Program*

  • Day 1 – Houston

    Students depart New Zealand for Houston, TX with a flight time of approximately 14-17 hours. On arrival into Houston, students check into their hotel for an initial brief and well-earned rest in readiness for an exciting program.

  • Day 2

    The scene is set on the first morning in Houston with the official Opening Ceremony. During an afternoon at Rice University, the students visit the stadium where President Kennedy gave his famous speech about travelling to the moon.

  • Day 3

    Each day the students are energised with the mPOWER Energy Zone, Expression Zone and engaging presentation of the daily Habit sets the right mindset for each day’s activities. Students head out to conduct challenging DNA extractions at Cell Lab and forensic analysis including a blood splatter forensic case. In the evening students learn the history of space exploration with the Space Race I movie night.

  • Day 4

    Following the morning activities the expedition sets off to explore the vast facilities of Johnson Space Center, NASA’s headquarters. Students visit Starship Gallery, Apollo Mission Control, Saturn V Rocket and various exhibitions. Movie night continues the space industry evolution with Space Race II.

  • Day 5

    Morning activities are more involved as groups present the Habits with a focus on application in daily life. Students are introduced to marine biology. The first session discusses marine ecology and conservation before students undertake their own shark dissection. The group will then enjoy a recreational evening of shopping at s Houston Mall before returning to the hotel.

  • Day 6

    Morning activities first thing, then an early return to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre. Students will tour the Astronaut Training Complex and Outer Space Academy, then attend an exclusive dinner with the CASE Special Advisor, former astronaut, Nicole Stott. Following the inspiring presentation, they have chance to ask questions and talk directly to the astronaut.

  • Day 7

    On the last day in Houston, students are in for a special treat. Another motivational and interactive presentation by a scientist or engineer, with plenty of question time. Followed by an exciting cultural experience attending a live NBA or MLB game, depending on the season.

  • Day 8 – Huntsville

    Goodbye Houston, hello Huntsville! The group departs the hotel to travel to their next destination, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Students check in to the onsite accommodation, meet their crew trainer and tour the Center’s facilities.

  • Day 9

    After breakfast students get straight into astronaut training at USSRC. They learn about the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Space Programs, design their own mission patch and are briefed on their own upcoming mission.  For their next challenge, they head outdoors for a lot of fun; the Area51 teamwork and leadership training course expands their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Later in the day, students receive guidance to begin constructing their own rockets and attend a presentation on Living in Space.

  • Day 10

    A morning tour and activities in Rocket Park, before students are immersed in their own Apollo Mission. This has them taking on roles, working as a team, and performing tasks to simulate a real space mission. A chance to try the Space Shot trainer simulates the feeling of rocketing into space beyond the earth’s gravitational pull; and scaling the climbing wall, they can imagine they are making their way up the 22km to the summit of Mars’ Olympus Mons.

  • Day 11

    Rocket construction and testing ready for launch tomorrow. Students will view Saturn V, the most powerful rocket ever launched and used in the Apollo 11 mission, which landed man on the moon for the first time. Teams experience first-hand how to work in a neutral buoyancy environment with a complex pool-based team activity. Then, they take a tumble in the Multi-Axis Trainer, designed to simulate disorientation on re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

  • Day 12

    Today students demonstrate their knowledge, teamwork and leadership skills during their lunar base presentation and their Bravo space mission. They will fine tune, test and then launch their rockets. They have fun with the Manned Manoeuvring Unit, simulating the frictionless environment of outer space, and the 1/6th gravity chair to master a moon walk.

  • Day 13

    The final expedition day. Today students attend the official graduation ceremony and are awarded with the CASE Space School and USSRC certificates. Students then depart USSRC and head to Huntsville airport for the journey home to Australia.

  • Day 14

    Expedition completed! With a transit time of approximately 14-17 hours students have time to reflect on their adventure and are farewelled with a closing ceremony at the airport when the group arrives back to New Zealand.

    *Proposed program is subject to change.

Important Information

  • Program cost: Tuition (NZD) inclusive of GST.
  • Costs include: Tuition fee, admission to program events, accommodation and meals.
  • Costs exclude: Airfares, insurance and personal expenses.
  • Accommodation: Three persons to share a room in a 4 star business hotel. The hotel is secure, and has exclusive conference room for Space School class activities.
  • Medical doctor arrangements: Doctors from Houston Medical Center.
  • I really enjoyed the program. Lot's of great memories, was also personally inspired to better myself as a teacher and a person. A great program overall. Well done and thank you!”

    Suavi Lipinski, Teacher at Somerville House, Australia

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should consider to join the CASE Junior Space School International Study Program?

    Students who are looking for an exciting motivational study program to develop their skills in critical thinking and problem solving, team work, curiosity and imagination. Students who are keen to broaden their horizons with an international experience while having fun and making new friends. Students who are interested in pursuing a science or non-science career path.

  • Who will be responsible for students while in the US?

    Actura Group Managers guide and support students throughout the duration of the program. All Actura Group Managers are diligently selected, then trained and certified to Actura's high standard. They all have first aid qualifications, working with children and police checks. Actura-certified Tour Assistants join each group in the US to assist in the delivery of the course. An accompanying teacher travels with each group to assist with student care and guidance.


  • Do I need to arrange my own flight and insurance?

    All travel and insurance is organised and made available by Actura to provide comprehensive risk management, group airfare tickets and group travel/medical insurance.

  • Is there a refund policy?

    The refund policy including applicable time frames is detailed in the student agreement. For further details and terms and conditions, please refer to the contract.

  • Will I need much spending money?

    All meals, accommodation and transport during the expedition are covered in the program cost. Students will only need pocket money for occasional treats, personal items and for the purchase of souvenir items or postcards.

  • If I cannot join this time, is the program available in the future?

    Actura aims to build long term relationships with schools to offer Space School international study program. This hopefully brings opportunity for future expeditions however the frequency cannot be guaranteed. Program costs may vary due to exchange rate fluctuations and program content modifications.

  • Do I need to apply for a visa to the USA?

    New Zealand is one of the countries currently participating in the USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program allows citizens of nominated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without having to obtain a special visa. Students with New Zealand citizenship are required to obtain a travel authorisation prior to travel to the United States; obtained online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), administered by the Department of Homeland Security. Visit, a fee of USD$14 applies.
    For all students who are nationals of countries not participating in the Visa Waiver Program, Actura New Zealand will provide relevant supporting information to assist with the USA Visa application.

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