HIGHER ORBITS FOUNDATION

Space Inspires!

Leesburg, VA   |  www.higherorbits.org

Mission

Higher Orbits is a 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, STEAM, Leadership and working to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. Higher Orbits uses a variety of programs and partnerships with other organizations to achieve these goals.

We serve students throughout the United States and are open to working with students anywhere on or off the planet!

Ruling year info

2015

Founder/President

Michelle Lucas

Main address

Po Box 4092

Leesburg, VA 20177 USA

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EIN

46-3550618

NTEE code info

Unknown (Z99)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Science, General (includes Interdisciplinary Scientific Activities) (U20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We have a shortage of students to fulfill the needed jobs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). There is a deficit in the millions. In discussions with industry there is also a lack of the "soft skills" of teamwork and communication for graduates.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Go For Launch!

Go For Launch!



Go For Launch! is a multi-day that uses Space Exploration as a platform to launch student involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), STEAM (Art), teamwork, communication, and leadership. This program is created and presented by Higher Orbits, a non-profit, and was developed to reach high school-aged students but can easily be modified for middle school/junior high or collegiate aged groups well.

Students are immersed in the wonder of Human Spaceflight through a variety of talks delivered by experts in the fields of space & STEM: such speakers have included an astronaut, former International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Flight Controllers, Astronaut Instructors, scientists, and engineers. Students get insight and feedback from experienced space and STEM professionals whose goals are to illustrate the numerous possibilities that exist in the world of STEM. A unique facet of Go For Launch! is that the students will work with an astronaut for at least two - if not all three -days of the event.

Broken into teams, students will work together for the entire event. Nearly every talk features collaborative activity, before or after, where team members must work together to complete tasks for daily awards. These tasks are designed to build leadership and teamwork skills, as well as enhance team communication. The culminating exercise is a design project. Each team must define and design a space experiment. At the conclusion of each program, the teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges from the Space & STEM fields, who will then choose a winner from each Go For Launch! event. Depending on funding, the experiment will either launch, or it will be in competition with a handful of other projects from the event division and the winner of the allotment will go to space. Options for launching into space include launch to the International Space Station or a Parabolic Flight. Higher Orbits has agreements in place to facilitate both options.

Go For Launch! is a unique and memorable experience that brings spaceflight to communities that might not otherwise have access to this. Space inspires! The Go For Launch! experience gives students experience and skills that can lead to success in any venture that requires imagination, leadership, teamwork, and problem solving skills.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We are working to get more students interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) as a field of study at University to lead to a career in STEM. For students who are already interested in STEM, we are working to keep them engaged. We are working to build teamwork, leadership, and communication skills for all participants in our program. And esoterically our aim is to encourage ALL students to DREAM big and believe they can do bigger things than they realize. Part of this is that we launch student conceived experiments to space!

We execute a program across the country called Go For Launch! that engages students in STEM, Leadership, Teamwork, and Communication. It is done in a way that all students, irrespective of their background or STEM acumen, can be inspired by. We bring in mentors of a variety of backgrounds, including an Astronaut, to help guide the students. We work to make sure that all students feel included and that they are free to be exactly who they are. Outside of Go For Launch! we work to provide content and opportunities in STEM and space to continue to develop these future STEMists & Explorers.

With the team we have and the volunteers we have we are able to run our Go For Launch! program all across the country and it is our intention in a "standard" year to run this program 15-20 times. We have partnerships in place to continue to launch student experiments to space.

We have run more than 50 Go For Launch! programs and reached students in a number of states. We have launched 10 experiments to space so far and will launch several more in 2020. Pre-covid we had planned to run 20 Go For Launch! programs in 2020 and hope that the world will be in a place that we can do so in 2021. We were asked to select the only 5 Americans to attend the International Science School in 2019 in Sydney, Australia and have been asked to select the students again for the program in 2021.

Financials

HIGHER ORBITS FOUNDATION
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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HIGHER ORBITS FOUNDATION

Board of directors
as of 7/6/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Michelle Lucas

Wendy Niemann

Whisper's Echo

Gregory Johnson

Astronaut (Retired)

Jason Artner

Scot Forge

Tom Stugmyer

Wadsworth Public Radio

Gary Morris

St. Edward's University

Francis French

Paul Colosky

Valeo PT

Sandra Kearney

e426.org

Jon Hutman

Christina Wenks

Kevin O'Neill

29 Studios

Tim Gagnon

Space Artist

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No