CASE Senior Space School

With greater depth, students spend the two weeks in Houston with incredible access to NASA. They visit areas rarely accessible; and engage directly with NASA experts to design and plan their own space mission within a given budget. An immersive program that hones their individual leadership, project management and communication skills. 

Advance Learning Outcomes


  • Apply management principles in innovative and complex environments

  • Develop critical thinking and problem solving skills

  • Learn to set and achieve targets

  • Lead through influence for successful teamwork

  • Encouraged to challenge themselves

  • Be effective in collaborative teamwork

  • Initiative and entrepreneurial mindset

  • Curiosity and imagination

  • Pursue personal values and set life goals

Stage III
  • Group presentation

    Group presentation

  • Communication strategy

    Communication strategy

  • Mission plan

    Mission plan

  • Business Planning

    Business Planning

  • Budget allocation

    Budget allocation

  • Engaged audience

    Engaged audience

  • Risk management plan

    Risk management plan

Stage Three is fun, inspiring, and again very challenging. Developed in the style of the global X-Prize competition that has fostered many technological advancements, the students compete in their own space mission project in the CASE ChallengeX Competition. Students must develop their higher order thinking and creativity; the teams must work together to present succinctly and professionally. A daunting task for any professional but the students are supported to ensure they are able present confidently to the panel; their work is exciting and innovative.

  • I wanted to go on space school as I have always have had a passion for science, space and engineering and thus I wanted to explore into those disciplines. The Space School program was a perfect opportunity to ignite my passion for these three areas. I also understood how this opportunity would be once in a life time which really enticed me to participate. Going into the experience I didn't really have expectations as I had never experienced something like this before."

    Pamela, Year 10 Student at Santa Sabina College, Australia

Amazing Locations


CASE Senior Space School students will visit prestigious locations across Houston and take part in simulations and projects that are focused on NASA’s Mars mission. Throughout the program, students will be encouraged to think independently and propose innovative solutions to problems, which they will encounter.

Australian school students are taken deep into the Johnson Space Center, where they will learn about teamwork and leadership. They will witness fascinating new technologies and speak to world class experts in the fields of space, science, engineering and management.

Exclusive Tour Students are taken deep into Johnson Space Center to view the latest technology and robotics up close and personal.
Tour mission control centers of the International Space Station and Apollo missions. Meet with top NASA scientists.


Visit Prestigious Locations Across Houston

  • Space Center Houston

    Space Center Houston

    Students will have the rare opportunity to visit Space Center Houston and facilities, such as the Johnson Space Center, Astronaut Training Center, the Saturn V rocket, the Mission Control Center, etc. Students will learn about NASA and space through a series of inspiring guest speakers that include NASA scientists, engineers and astronauts.
  • Expedition Center

    Expedition Center

    Students will participate in space mission simulations taking on the roles of scientists and engineers. Students will learn risk management and work in teams to successfully complete their mission.
  • Oil Drilling Platform

    Oil Drilling Platform

    Students will visit an oil drilling platform and see, first-hand, behind-the-scenes operations. Moreover, students will be required to use their creative thinking and problem solving skills to create a makeshift oil rig out of dough within the time limit.
  • Rice University

    Rice University

    Students will visit Rice University, known as “Harvard of the South” and one of the top university in the United States. The guest speaker, NASA’s lead parachute designer, Professor Tayfun will lecture on Bernoulli’s principal, fluid dynamics and parachute mechanics.

CASE Senior Space School Personal Development

Developing Critical Skills for Success

The CASE Space School program is built on a foundation of personal development; with rich context based application of business management principles that include the ‘Seven Survival Skills’ by Harvard Professor Tony Wagner.  Students learn to challenge themselves; developing skills from critical thinking and effective communication, right through to innovation and leadership. They are motivated to apply these skills throughout their expedition and in their everyday lives.

Together with the CASE Space School success themes, these survival skills form the backbone of the Senior Space School Program:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analysing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

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.


: Houston, USA

Duration: 14 Days
Open to Students: 15 years old and above in Years 11, 12 & 13
Dates: During New Zealand school term breaks

CASE Senior Space School Program*

  • Day 1

    A unique experience begins with CASE Senior Space School! 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 CASE Space School Opening Ceremony, an introduction to the daily success themes and team building activities. An inspiring start with a motivational, interactive presentation by a scientist or engineer, with plenty of question time. Then a visit to Space Lab to see the latest rocket technology.

  • Day 3

    Each day the students are energised with the mPOWER Energy Zone, Expression Zone and an interactive team presentation of the day’s success theme, sets the right mindset for each day’s activities. Today at the Expedition Center students immerse in their first space mission training where they take on the role of scientist or flight engineer in complex simulations. The teams debrief in the evening to understand their success in risk management and team cooperation.

  • Day 4

    CASE ChallengeX Competition is an integral part of the coursework, this morning teams are briefed on the upcoming challenge. Team work is developed with the marshmallow challenge as students use some simple tools to create complex structures testing their engineering skills and innovative thinking.

  • Day 5

    Space University begins, based at Johnson Space Center, NASA’s headquarters. Over the coming days students participate in a series of exciting NASA courses that foster experiential learning. Course elements today include the design of rockets and landing parachutes; protective thermal heat shields and a Mars rover. In the evening students learn the history of space exploration with the Space Race I movie night.

  • Day 6

    Space University progresses with teams testing their remote-controlled Mars Rovers in competition; and the design and build of a habitat for living on Mars. Teams learn how to incorporate arts, science and technology to invent individual and creative solutions. Movie night continues the space industry evolution with Space Race II.

  • Day 7

    Space University challenges the students as they develop budgets for their own space missions; before learning about the astonishing field of NASA robotics. Students are briefed on the humanoid robotics technology and its inspiration for new applications, both in space and on earth.

  • Day 8

    Scuba diving at Space University engages the students’ teamwork and problem-solving skills as they attempt to overcome the difficulties of working in a neutrally buoyant environment. This evening they meet a Scientist or Engineer for an inspiring and interactive presentation.

  • Day 9

    Space University final day has the teams in their final Mars mission simulations, and presenting their USD$600m mission at NASA. After this NASA JSC course, students are awarded with their NASA certificates at an official graduation ceremony.

  • Day 10

    A new high-tech environment inspires the students to think beyond space for application of their developing STEM-skills. Today students explore the TxRx Robotic lab, a remarkable prototyping facility. Followed by an exciting cultural experience attending a live NBA or MLB game, depending on the season.

  • Day 11

    A challenging day ahead – the students demonstrate their creativity, project management, resource allocation and leadership skills during the XPrize Competition. Bringing together the knowledge and skills acquired during the program, teams present to a panel of NASA scientists and engineers. The group will then enjoy a recreational evening of shopping at the Outlet Mall before returning to the hotel.

  • Day 12

    JSC VIP tour takes students behind the scenes with the ultimate VIP experience at Space Center Houston. During this exclusive tour students receive unprecedented access to real workings of NASA, including the Neutral Buoyancy Lab where astronauts train on a replica International Space Station (ISS); historic Mission Control that monitored the moon landings; new ISS Mission Control; and Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility.

  • Day 13

    At Rice University students explore aviation’s history and future; and visit the stadium where President Kennedy gave his famous speech about travelling to the moon. The group then attends a lecture by a leading engineer such as NASA’s head parachute designer, Professor Tayfun E. Tezduyar. Students are in for a unique treat with a Dinner and presentation with an Astronaut. The ensuing the Space School graduation ceremony marks the completion of the Senior Space School program and students are awarded with their individual Space School certificates.

  • Day 14

    Expedition complete! With a transit time of approximately 14-17 hours students can reflect on their adventure and are farewell 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.

My Daughter came home with many stories to tell and is still telling them. This trip exceeded my expectations as I was slightly concerned how she would cope being so far away from home and for such a long time, but she loved every minute of it and it has definitely shaped her motivation for what she would like to do in the future with her studies! Other than the obvious learning aspect she has also learnt resilience and independence, made new friends (whom she is continuing to keep in touch with) and a sense of confidence that she did not have prior to the trip.

Paula Nicholls, Parent of Year 10 student at Moreton Bay College, Australia

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should consider to join the Senior 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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