Socorro, Canutillo STEM students talk with NASA’s Orion spacecraft lunar team

Students from the Canutillo and Socorro Independent School Districts were among a select group of 200 students from the United States and Canada that got a chance to talk with NASA’s Orion spacecraft lunar team.

The 60 STEM students learned how the team on earth controls what happens in space.

They also learned about how Cisco, Lockheed Martin, and Amazon developed Callisto which brings the Alexa digital assistant and Webex video collaboration aboard Orion’s first flight test in deep space.

“I think it’s super interesting and if this is only the beginning, just being able to talk to Alexa and so from my Alexa at home, and how different it is and how they adapted it to help space and help astronauts,” Alejandra Gauna, an Americas High School senior said.

Callisto is meant to show how commercial technology could assist future astronauts on deep space missions. The payload will demonstrate how astronauts and flight controllers can use human-machine interface technology to make their jobs simpler, safer and more efficient, and advance human exploration in deep space.”

Gauna, who wants to be a software engineer, thought the experience was inspiring.

“I think it’s super cool what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Gauna said.

The Orion spacecraft is part of NASA’s Artemis missions.

  • Artemis I: an uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft around the Moon.
  • Artemis II: first crewed flight test of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft around the Moon.
  • Artemis III and beyond: Orion will deliver astronauts to a commercially-built Human Landing System, which will take them to the Moon’s surface.

The Artemis I mission is scheduled to conclude on Dec. 11 when Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, according to NASA.