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Durham County Library Presents Go For Launch!

Durham, NC – Durham County Library is excited to present Go For Launch!, a three-day program that uses space exploration as a platform to launch student engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), while encouraging development of teamwork, communication and leadership skills.

Go For Launch!, run by the non-profit Higher Orbits, is open to Durham County students in grades 8-12 and will be offered free-of-charge via application during Durham Public School’s spring break, April 10-12, at Stanford L. Warren Branch Library. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Through their participation in Go For Launch! students will learn about human spaceflight and receive insight and feedback through a variety of hands-on activities delivered by experienced space and STEAM professionals. Speakers scheduled to participate in this event include retired NASA Astronaut Don Thomas, former International Space Station Flight Controller and Astronaut Instructor Michelle Lucas and other space and STEAM professionals. The goal is to inspire tomorrow’s scientists and engineers by illustrating the numerous opportunities that exist in STEAM-related careers.

The students will participate in collaborative activities and develop the idea for a space experiment, which they will present to a panel of judges in the space and STEAM fields (including an astronaut). The judges will choose a winner from Durham’s event. Durham’s winner will compete with winners from Go For Launch! events at other locations and that winner will see their experiment launched to the International Space Station.

“With all the high tech companies and innovative work being done in The Research Triangle, I’m sure we will see many outstanding proposals for student experiments to fly aboard the International Space Station as part of the Go For Launch! program in Durham on April 10-12,” says Astronaut Don Thomas. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet and work with this talented group of future scientists and engineers!”

Students interested in participating in Go For Launch! should submit an application by Friday, March 3 at Students will be notified by email in early March with their application status and instructions for registering if approved. The program is limited to 50 students.

For more information, contact Matthew Clobridge at

About Durham County Library
Durham County Library encourages Discovery, connects the Community and leads in Literacy. As a department of Durham County Government, the library furthers Goal 1 of the county’s Strategic Plan by enhancing cultural, educational and creative opportunities. For more information about the library, visit

About Higher Orbits
Higher Orbits is a 501(c)3 non-profit with the mission of promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); along with leadership, teamwork and communication through the use of spaceflight. Mankind’s journey into space serves as an ideal launchpad to excite students of all ages about STEM and working to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. Higher Orbits uses a variety of programs and partnerships with other organizations to achieve these goals and is excited to be holding events across the US in 2017. To learn more, visit

About Retired Astronaut Don Thomas
Selected by NASA in January 1990, Dr. Thomas became an astronaut in July 1991. Dr. Thomas has served in the Safety, Operations Development, and Payloads Branches of the Astronaut Office. He was CAPCOM (spacecraft communicator) for Shuttle missions STS-47, 52 and 53. From July 1999 to June 2000 he was Director of Operations for NASA at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. A veteran of four space flights, STS-65, STS-70, STS-83 and STS-94, he has logged over 1,040 hours in space as a Mission Specialist. To learn more visit

Additional photo collaterals, including event patch available. Astronaut interview also available. Please contact the library for additional details.

Contact: Stephanie Bonestell
919-560-0151 or

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