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Build, Launch, Recover

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Grade Levels

Grades 5-8


Engineering Design, Space Science, Technology, Solar System and Planets, Earth's Moon, Space Vehicles


Educator Guides

In this module, students will take on the roles of scientists and engineers from NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) team and the Orion Recovery Team. EGS was established to develop and operate the systems and facilities necessary to process and launch rockets and spacecraft during assembly, transport, and launch.

With these activities, students will:

  • Be challenged to modify a crane system to lift and stack sections of rocket fuselages, just like engineers who work inside the VAB.
  • Become engineers and NASA crawler operators while working in teams to design and build a rubber-band-powered model of NASA’s crawler-transporter that will be able to carry the most mass possible the farthest distance without failure.
  • Take on the role of a NASA launch team by creating a launch protocol to consistently launch a rocket and hit a target. They will work as a team to go through an actual launch simulation and make sure their protocol is accurate and reliable.
  • Work in teams to find the crew module on the opposing team’s 10 х 10 grid. After exploring different sets of questions on various grids, teams will develop an algorithm for finding a capsule on any given grid.

Next Generation Science Standards: MS-PS2-2, MS-P3-1, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

Common Core State Standards: 5.G.A.1, 6.NS.C.8, 7.EE.B.3, 7.SP.C.8, MP2, MP5, MP6, W.6.3, RST.6-8.3, RST.6-8.7, L.6-8.6, L.7.3A

Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Standards: 2-AP-10

Build, Launch, Recover

Build, Launch, Recover in Spanish

This educator guide is part of the Next Gen STEM Moon series. Also in this series:
Crew Transportation With Orion
Propulsion With the Space Launch System
Habitation With Gateway
Landing Humans on the Moon
Hazards to Deep Space Astronauts
Deep Space Communications
Artemis Generation Spacesuits
Build, Launch, Recover