NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland will host the 23rd annual Young Astronaut Day on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Glenn Deputy Director Janet L. Kavandi, a former NASA astronaut, will present the keynote at 10:15 a.m.

Young Astronaut Day (YAD) is a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, outreach event for students in grades 1-12.

Each year since 1992, NASA Glenn hosts up to 360 students to compete in hands-on activities related to engineering problem solving. The daylong event is comprised of aerospace mission activities to encourage learners to explore the nature of flight and experience some real-life applications of STEM.

This year students from across Northeast Ohio will compete for ribbons in various events that will explore “real” problems engineers face and work on today.

The competition begins at 12:15 and ends at 2:15 p.m.

“Young Astronaut Day gives students a chance to experience working on an engineering team and on activities that represent the type of work being performed at NASA,” said Ashlie Flegel, an aerospace engineer at Glenn. “Each year we see students creativity blossom as they solve engineering problems in this fast paced, high energy atmosphere.”

The Commanders, seventh- through 12th-grade students, will tackle elements to develop an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Their mission consists of four objectives:

A Wing Structure Challenge: Create a new wing design concept featuring a long wingspan that withstands the aerodynamic forces during flight.
A Let it Glide Challenge: All aircraft structures must be able to support immense loads on the ground and in flight while minimizing weight. Learners will be challenged to build a cantilevered frame structure similar to a wing, maximizing the length and the weight it can support.
A UAV Launcher Challenge: Design a launcher for the UAV and optimize its design to achieve the farthest distance.
The Parachute Drag Challenge: Design and test parachutes using computational fluid dynamics and wind tunnel experiments to aid in slowing down an aircraft.
The Pilots, first- through sixth-grade students, will design concepts that will be used to build NASA’s future aircraft. Just like the engineers at NASA, this team must consider the different challenges of pushing the aviation envelope. In order to have a successful mission and win the 2015 YAD team award, they must effectively perform four events:

Winging It Challenge: Learn about the Bernoulli effect by building an airplane wing and making it fly.
Quiet Airplane Challenge: To meet aircraft noise requirements, come up with a wall lining shape that provides the most reduction in engine noise.
Aircraft Landing Gear Challenge: To ensure the cargo and passengers have a smooth landing, a strong landing gear needs to be developed. Build a shock absorbing system to keep the aircraft upright and the cargo and passengers safe inside.
Water Rockets Challenge: Learn about propulsion systems and choose the best water and pressure combination for their next rocket engines to reach the maximum height.
First-, second- and third-place ribbons will be awarded to the team for each competition in both the Pilot and Commander divisions.

Also during the event and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, students will be mentored by NASA and Canstruction® architects, engineers and contractors to design and build a giant replica of NASA’s hangar made entirely from full cans of food. At the close of the event all of the food is donated to the Cleveland Food Bank.

2015 Participating Pilot Teams:

Avon Lake Girl Scout Troop 51163 – Avon Lake
Bay Middle School – Bay Village
Birchwood School – Cleveland
Central Elementary School – Cleveland
Chippewa Elementary School – Cleveland
East Woods Elementary – Hudson
North Olmsted Forest Primary School – North Olmsted
Gesu Catholic School – University Heights
Girl Scout Brownie Troop 70556 – Cleveland
Girl Scout Brownie Troop 70835 – Cleveland
Girl Scout Troop 71073 – Cleveland
Leighton Elementary School- Aurora
Olmsted Falls Intermediate School – Olmsted Township
University School – Shaker Heights
2015 Participating Commander Teams:

Birchwood School – Cleveland
Black River High School – Sullivan
Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School – Brecksville
Columbia High School – Columbia Station
Coventry High School – Akron
Euclid High School – Euclid
Gilmour Academy – Gates Mills
Hathaway Brown School – Shaker Heights
Holy Name High School – Parma Heights
Madison Local Schools – Madison
Magnificat High School – Rocky River
Maple Heights STEM – Maple Heights
Polaris Career Center – Polaris Ambassadors – Middleburgh Heights
Richmond Heights High School – Richmond Heights
St. Patrick Catholic School –Bryan
YAD sponsors are: NASA Glenn Exploration Systems Project Office, the Northern Ohio Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Sierra Lobo Inc., Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and the Gilcrest Electric and Supply Company.

Volunteers assisting with YAD are from: NASA Glenn, Canstruction®, Cleveland State University, Vantage Partners, LLC, Herschman Architects, Alycon, Inc., DB Consulting Group, Inc. and Case Western Reserve Robotics Team.

Media interested in covering the event should email or call 216-433-2990 by 4 p.m. on Nov. 6 to be cleared through security.

For more information about Young Astronaut Day, visit:

For more information about Janet L. Kavandi, visit:

To learn more about NASA Glenn, visit: