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Turn Any Space Into a STEM Lab

Aerospace Engineering:

Space Port

Design and Engineering Challeng

A STEM-Maker Level 2 Lesson for Creative Fluency

Context and Rationale
The study of space travel and
space habitation.
Understanding the challenges of
space exploration, including zerogravity, time and distance, and lack
of essential life support systems.
Researching possible solutions for sustaining life on other planets,
moons, or other celestial elements.
Designing space transportation systems, space
communications, and space habitats that support human life.
Understanding and applying laws of motion, fluid mechanics,
and conservation.

This STEM design and engineering challenge is appropriate for middle and senior high school
levels and is recommended for students working in pairs or small teams up to four students.
This project is designed to promote creative thinking, problem solving, innovation, and invention,
and provides an excellent applied learning experience for all STEM students.

STEM Challenge

Aerospace Engineering:
space port

Aerospace Engineering - Space Port

To gain a better understanding of aerospace engineering concepts, the following resource

materials are recommended to accompany this design brief project:

Engineering Fundamentals, ISBN 978-1-61960-220-5,

Chapter 13: Aerospace Engineering, pages 259 - 280

Online Key Search Terms
aerospace engineering

launch pad
Newtons Laws
Cape Canaveral rockets solid rocket fuel

RESA Space Port Project

The Rokenbok Exploratory Space Agency (RESA) is in the process of

developing plans for a space colony on the planet of Mars over the
next ten years.
Since the NASA Space Shuttle program was cancelled, it has
become necessary for RESA to design and develop a new, nextgeneration interplanetary space transport vehicle capable of
carrying large payloads of equipment and material from Earth to Mars.
This new inter-planetary space transport vehicle will require a new Space Port to be
designed and built here on Earth that will support frequent launching of the new RESA
Space Transport vehicle.
Your aerospace design team has been selected to design and build a scale model of the
new RESA Space Port. The new space port must be designed to transport the RESA
Space Transport from a storage hangar to the launch pad safely. The transfer system
should be able to tilt the RESA Space transport from the horizontal to vertical position.
Time is of the essence and your team must work together to prepare your scale model for
presentation to the Rokenbok Exploratory Space Agency at their next planning meeting.


For this challenge, you are limited to using the various building components in your
Rokenbok Education ROK Ed Rover and other materials that may be provided by your

STEM Challenge

Aerospace Engineering:
space port


To successfully complete this STEM Design and Engineering Challenge, the following
constraints and specifications must be followed:
The RESA Space Port should include a storage hangar, a mobile transfer
vehicle, and a launch pad designed to support the RESA Space Transport.
The mobile transfer vehicle should be designed to allow the RESA Space
Transport to be stored in a horizontal position until it is ready to be placed
in launch position on the launch pad. The mobile transfer system should
be designed to allow the RESA Space Transport to be tilted from a
horizontal position to a vertical position for launching into space.
The RESA Space Port should be designed to accept the RESA Space
Transport configuration and hold it into position by at least two retractable
launch pins that will be released at launch.
The RESA Space Port should be designed to fit in a 24 x 24 x 24 cube.
All elements of RESA Space Port should be of appropriate scale and
proportion to each other.
Your team should also prepare to deliver a multimedia presentation to
the RESA about the merits of your Space Port model and design.


Students will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Creativity and Design
Functionality of Designed Unit
Time Management and Teamwork
Successful Completion of the Challenge
Adherence to Constraints/Criteria
Use the Rokenbok Universal Performance Rubric for evaluation. Available for download at

STEM Concepts

Aerospace Engineering:
space port


Students will use and reinforce these Science concepts:

Simple Machines including Levers, Pulleys, and Inclined Planes
Balance and Equilibrium
Weight and Mass

Technology and Engineering

Students will use and reinforce these Technology and Engineering concepts:
Prototyping and Modeling
Invention and Innovation
Structural Integrity/Strength
Brainstorming and Problem Solving
Trial and Error Engineering Concepts


Students will use and reinforce these Math concepts:

Calculating Size, Area, Volume, and Distance
Calculating Geometric Shapes
Linear Measurement and Scaling Techniques
Measuring Thrust and Drag
Measuring Mass and Weight


This Design Challenge is based on the following national standards:

The Next Generation Science Standards
Common Core Standards
Standards for Technological Literacy
Endorsed by the International STEM Education Association

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