Apollo 50

Apollo 50th header

On June 20, 1969, NASA landed the first humans on the moon. Stepping onto the surface, astronaut Neil Armstrong called it “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA’s Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) invites students to enter the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge. Open to students in grades 5–12 across the United States and Puerto Rico, the event challenges student teams to recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing using a drone and a LEGO Mindstorm robot.

Organizations will run the Apollo Next Giant Leap Student Challenge locally to select a team to advance to the nearest regional challenge hub. The top team at each regional challenge hub will earn the grand prize of a trip to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas!

Full details and registration will be available February 1, 2019.

Here are NESSP’s directors, Robert Winglee and Juan-Carlos Chavez, demonstrating the drone and robot components of the challenge:


July 15-19, 2019 — Regional hubs will hold their final challenges

Challenge Overview

STAGE 1: Register a team and design and submit a mission patch to NESSP.

STAGE 2: Modify a drone to carry your Apollo Lunar Module to a designated landing zone. Extra points for team astronaut costumes or traditional community garments!

STAGE 3: Develop a pre-programmed robotic system to represent an astronaut who will explore the lunar surface and complete challenges to score points!

Regional Hubs

The full list of regional hubs will be announced in mid-January. Each hub will send their top team to Johnson Space Center. Approximately a dozen hubs will create a network of sites across the U.S. for the final challenges.

General info

* No experience necessary. Drone and robotics training sessions provided upon request.
* Loaner equipment will be provided across the region to 50%+ free/reduced lunch schools (dependent on availability).
* No cost to enter for schools or recognized informal education programs.


Full-color letter-sized flyer — Download as .PDF


Email us: apollo50@uw.edu


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