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Challenger Construction on Track

Friday, September 13, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

ChallengerTexas State Technical College Associate Vice-President of College Readiness and Advancement said progress was on track in the construction of the Challenger Learning Center, which will provide simulated space missions, science education and team-building programs for the community.

De Leon said the “finish line was near” and a projected soft opening date in the beginning of November was still in the plans. The Challenger Learning Center is projected to be completed by Oct. 31 and will open to the public on Jan. 1.

“We’re planning a big opening,” De Leon said. “We want to invite astronauts, politicians and other leaders from our community. It’s going to be a big grand opening.”

Bill Seilnacht, manager of customer technical support, and Jason Ketler, technical support specialist, spent a week in Harlingen helping with the construction of the learning center.

“I’d say we’re about 35 percent done,” Ketler said. “We’ve working on Phase I of the project. We’ll be coming back in October to finish up the second phase.”

The first phase consisted mostly of the actual physical construction of the learning center. The second phase will include installing all software and finish the technical aspects of the learning center.

“By the time we leave in October, it should be ready to go,” Seilnacht said. “I’ll then come back with a crew to help train the folks here.”

The learning center experience will consist of a two-hour simulated space mission featuring an orbiting space station and mission control center.

The Challenger Learning Center is part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international not-for-profit education organization founded in April 1986 by the families of the astronauts tragically lost during the Challenger space shuttle mission.

The Harlingen location is part of a growing network of approximately 50 Challenger Learning Centers located throughout the world and serves groups throughout the greater South Texas region.

For more information, go to http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenchallenger.

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