Ramapo Parks
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About Us

Challenger Center About Us 1Be an astronaut for a day and take a journey that will last a lifetime!

Come join us for a simulated flight into space, and journey to the Moon, Mars, or a Comet! We offer the next best thing to an actual space flight with a simulated Mission Control room and Spacecraft. Become a member of one of eight teams, and take a simulated trip into space you will remember forever!

School, Scout, Party, Camp, Corporate, missions are available for groups from 8 to 40 participants. Small family groups and individuals can attend one of our monthly Public missions. If you would like to experience one of our exciting simulated space missions, please call and reserve a day and time. The Challenger Center is open nearly every day of the year. Missions must be scheduled in advance and may be booked on any day of the week. Our normal hours of operation are 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Weekend hours of operation depend upon when missions are scheduled. It is advisable to call in advance if you would like to visit the Center.

Challenger Center About Us 2Imagine… Using space as a theme and the power of simulations as a teaching tool, Challenger Center programs create an exciting cooperative learning environment that exposes children and adults to the challenges and successes of teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. This is our vision for the future - a global community of scientifically literate citizens. Working as a team, accepting responsibility, experiencing shared trust, and building communication, and problem-solving skills are lessons that can never be over emphasized by children or adults. This vision is based on a realistic assessment of the skills needed for success in the next century. Challenger Centers throughout the nation are helping to turn this vision into reality.

A visit to the Challenger Center is not just a simulated space trip - it's an interactive learning experience that engages children and adults and allows them to perform the same "hands-on" tasks that areChallenger Center About Us 3 done by real scientists, engineers, researchers, and astronauts. On a typical mission participants are divided into two groups, with half assigned to the Mission Control simulator while the others are transported to the Spacecraft to become “astronauts”. At the mission's midpoint, the teams exchange places so every participant can experience both learning environments. During the mission, all the participants must accomplish specific tasks in order for the mission to be a success. “Astronauts” on board the Spacecraft build probes, monitor life support functions, conduct “hands on” experiments, manipulate robotic arms, perform simple medical tests, and navigate the Spacecraft to its destination. “Engineers” and “Scientists” in Mission Control support these endeavors by analyzing data sent to them from the Spacecraft, answering the Challenger Center About Us 4astronauts' questions, and providing the necessary research to solve problems and emergencies should they occur. When the mission is at full throttle, there can be a flurry of messages heard over the loud speakers between Mission Control and the Spacecraft as the “astronauts”, “researchers” and “scientists” perform their jobs. At any moment, emergency alarms and flashing lights may signal hazardous conditions for the “astronauts” that will need to be researched and fixed. Meanwhile, everyone must continue working to ensure that the mission's goal is accomplished. Even though the participants aren’t necessarily aware that they're doing so, they are using critical thinking skills; teamwork skills; principles of science and mathematics; as well as reading and communications skills to complete their mission and ensure its success.

The Challenger Center is owned and operated by the Town of Ramapo. An Advisory Board of Directors is chaired by Anthony F. Santucci

The Dream

Challenger Center About Us 5Challenger Crew, Mission 51L Challenger Learning Centers are a living testimony to the dream of the Challenger astronauts. When the crew of the Challenger space shuttle perished on January 28, 1986; they were on a pioneering mission to extend the boundaries of human knowledge, to teach, and to inspire. Challenger Learning Centers located worldwide are continuing that mission by helping prepare students for life in the 21st Century.

Challenger Learning Center officials have created a positive experience that raises students' expectations of success and inspires them to pursue mathematics, science, and technology through participation in simulated space adventures.

The Idea

In June 1994, a Suffern High School project led by then senior Kristina Rodriquez proposed turning a vacant school building into a Challenger Learning Center. The concept lit a fire in the community resulting in approval to become one of the then 30 Challenger Learning Centers in North America, the second in New York State.

Milestones

August 1994 - Lower Hudson Valley Challenger Center, Inc. founded
October 1994 - Franchise awarded to the LHVCC Foundation
November 1994 - Fundraising begins.
July 1996 - New York State awards $640,000 to the LHVCC Foundation
September 1998 - The LHVCC deeded land; ground-breaking begins
November 1999 - Grand Opening
June 2003 - 1000th School Mission.
May 2005 - 50,000th visitor
January 2006 - The LHVCC receives $91,000 grant from NASA
October 2006 - After-School robotics classes, and Rocket Club begin
January 2007 - The LHVCC Rocket Club awarded first Annual Apogee grant
June 2007 - 75,000th visitor
August 2007 - Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan answers LHVCC camper's question from space
June 2008 - 2000th School Mission
November 2008 - "History of Space Flight" mural unveiled in the Center's lobby
June 2009 - 100,000th visitor
August 2009 - The LHVCC co-hosts National Challenger Center Conference
August 2009 - June Scobee-Rodgers, founding Chairman of Challenger Center, and Educator Astronaut,Barbara Morgan, visit LHVCC
April 2010 - The Town of Ramapo purchases the Challenger Center