Press Releases  |  2.14.2018

Challenger Center and Raytheon Partner to Inspire Colorado Students During Engineers Week

WASHINGTON – February 12, 2018 – In celebration of National Engineers Week, Challenger Center, Raytheon and Challenger Learning Center of Colorado will transform 100 Colorado ninth grade students into engineers when they bring Earth to Mars, a new Challenger Center STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, into their classrooms.

“Challenger Center is proud to work with Raytheon to inspire the next generation of innovators,” said Lance Bush. “Providing these students with our Earth to Mars program will not only excite them about STEM topics, but will also expose them to a variety of STEM careers they could pursue in the future.”

Earth to Mars includes a simulated rocket launch and an engineering design challenge. It will be delivered by Challenger Center educators at four different high schools from February 19-22. Schools participating include Lewis Palmer High School, Mitchell High School, Peyton High School, and St. Mary’s High School.

“Raytheon designs and develops cutting edge technologies in Colorado and communities across the country – from radars to artificial intelligence to cybersecurity software,” said Todd Probert, vice president of Mission Support and Modernization at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services. “We hope these young engineers will someday join us to help develop the next generation of software, systems and ideas.”

Earth to Mars begins with a presentation from a Raytheon guest speaker who will share his/her career journeys and answer questions from the students. Students then gather in small groups to simulate a Space Launch System (SLS) rocket launch to send a payload to Mars. The students are tasked to track storms and trajectory and ensure the communications and electrical systems are performing as expected. After completing the launch simulation, the students move on the last portion of the program, the engineering design challenge. During the challenge, students conceptualize components for a future Mars habitat and collaborate to create small prototypes of that habitat working using 3D printing pens and drawing programs on tablets.

Challenger Center and its network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers, including the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado, provide hands-on STEM experiences to students around the world. Programs deliver STEM concepts in context of an exciting real-world experience. Through a combination of computer-driven simulation and hands-on activities students are exposed to a range of STEM careers and use important 21st century skills like teamwork, communication, and problem solving.

About Challenger Center
As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center provides more than 250,000 students annually with experiential education programs that engage students in hands-on learning opportunities. These programs, delivered in Challenger Learning Centers and classrooms, strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Center was created by the Challenger families to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L. For more information about Challenger Center, please visit or connect on Facebook and Twitter.

About Challenger Learning Center of Colorado
The Challenger Learning Center of Colorado opened in 2002 with a mission to inspire and engage elementary and middle school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subject areas, using space as the motivating element. In the past 16 years, Challenger Learning Center of Colorado has served more than 220,000 Colorado school children about the wonders of space exploration. The organization is building, with Academy School District 20, a new 10,500 square foot home, slated to open in fall 2019. To learn more, visit

About Raytheon
Raytheon Company, with 2017 sales of $25 billion and 64,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. With a history of innovation spanning 96 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5ITM products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. Follow us on Twitter.