On April 12, 2023, Beating the Odds Foundation held its annual student event in cooperation with NASA called the Quarterbacks of Life®/NASA Research Challenge. The event was held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland. This year’s event was sponsored by McShane Family Foundation, Agenda, TriMas Foundation, US Foods, Walmart, Sheetz, Keller Engineers, State Farm, Altoona Curve, and Meier Supply Company Inc.
107 middle and high school students from 8 schools in Pennsylvania participated in the challenge at GSFC. Student teams were from Albert Gallatin High School (Uniontown, PA), Albert Gallatin North/South Middle Schools (McClellandtown, PA/Point Marion, PA), Bellwood-Antis Middle School (Bellwood, PA), Hollidaysburg Area Jr. High School (Hollidaysburg, PA), Laurel Highlands Middle School (Uniontown, PA), Muhlenberg High School (Laureldale, PA), and Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy (Boalsburg, PA).
This year’s challenge focused on the life of Retired United States Navy Captain, engineer, test pilot and former NASA astronaut, Scott Altman. Through the example of Altman’s life challenges and successes, students can see that anything is possible. Students had the astronomical opportunity to hear from Scott Altman and participate in a Q&A with Altman.
“It’s an honor to share my story as a child dreaming of flying and becoming a pilot and then flying higher and faster as a NASA astronaut,” said Scott “Scooter” Altman, ASRC Federal Space operating group president. “It is important to me to share the successes but also the challenges I had along the way and the wonderful adventures that ultimately resulted. I’d like to encourage the next generation to think expansively about their future and boldly reach for the stars!”
During a tour of GSFC tour, students got to visit the Hubble Mission Control Center, Hubble’s primary command and control room where both manual and automated operations are performed from this location; visited with scientists working in robotics, astrophysics, and space weather; and toured the Spacecraft and Integration Complex, a suite where spacecraft and their instruments are built in an enormous “cleanroom,” and tested for environmental conditions generated by ground handling, launch, and orbital flight. Students got to see scientists working on parts of the Nancy Roman Space Telescope.