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A space-centered project founded and headed by a Woodburn man took a giant leap forward earlier this month with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Smithsonian Science Education Center in Washington, D.C.


The project, Enterprise in Space, or EIS, is the dream of longtime local resident and space enthusiast Shawn Case, who serves as its chairman of the board. Its ambitious goal is to send a 3D-printed spacecraft into low Earth orbit, carrying over 100 student experiments on board.

Since 2014, it has been an initiative of the National Space Society, an international nonprofit educational and scientific organization specializing in space advocacy.

The educational focus of EIS and its parent organization made them a natural fit with the Smithsonian Science Education Center, which is dedicated to the establishment of effective science programs and professional learning experiences for all teachers and students.

“The decision to collaborate with the Smithsonian Science Education Center was a natural one,” Lynne Zielinski, EIS education program manager and NSS vice president of public affairs, said in a press release. “The Smithsonian has a prestigious reputation for its educational initiatives and will provide the ideal network and support necessary for bringing the EIS program to the public.”

EIS and the Smithsonian education center will collaborate on two projects intended to develop educator and student experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) and enhance awareness of and interest in space exploration.

The first is a mission patch design challenge in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education to present at Space Day at the National Air and Space Museum, tentatively set to occur this summer. The second is the development of a space science summer course for the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs) that will enrich and enhance space education in the participating educators’ classrooms.

The two organizations will work together in creating a space science curriculum for leaders and learners that will be taught as a week-long SSEAT course. The course will use resources from the Smithsonian and its affiliates in the Washington, D.C. area, including access to museums, scientists, historians, and researchers at those facilities.

According to the release, class lessons created by participating teachers will be shared further by being uploaded to the EIS Academy. The program will also include an online course preceding the summer Space Science Academy and post-academy activities for follow-up networking and teacher collaborations.

“Space science topics are a timely and exciting subject area that motivates student learning,” said Carol O’Donnell, director of the science education center. “The EIS Academy offers a pathway for our SSEATs teachers to build long-lasting professional learning communities that will provide them with confidence and reinvigorate their enthusiasm while embracing cutting edge applications and best teaching practices.”

For more information about the Enterprise in Space, visit www.enterpriseinspace.org or the project’s page on Facebook.

Tyler Francke covers all things Woodburn. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-765-1195.

COURTESY PHOTO: EIS - This diagram illustrates the outline of the Enterprise In Space program from launch, to orbit, to re-­entry.

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