In this design challenge, students will learn about space capsules and why they are used instead of shuttles. Students will also design a space capsule for an upcoming flight. The students will be presented with the following problem: “LU-X is looking to get involved in the space tourism business. However, they have mainly focused on designing rockets rather than space capsules. LU-X is now in the process of developing space capsules that are safe for human flight and can be reused to keep costs down.” Students will put on their engineering hats to build a space capsule that can protect the astronauts inside. Students will engage in a STEM challenge to design a space capsule that is able to safely land on a target. Bonus points will be awarded for those who wish to push their designs to safely land within the targeted landing zone in windy conditions.

Standards Alignment + Connections

Current Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

Current Science TEKS covered in this design challenge

Grade 6 TEKS: 6.8B, 6.8C, 6.11C
Grade 7 TEKS: 7.9B
Grade 8 TEKS: 8.6A, 8.6C

Future Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

Future Science Scientific and Engineering Practices covered in this design challenge

Grade 6 TEKS: 6.1B, 6.1G, 6.2D
Grade 7 TEKS: 7.1B, 7.1G, 7.2D, 7.7A
Grade 8 TEKS: 8.1B, 8.1G, 8.2D

Math TEKS covered in this design challenge

Grade 6 TEKS: 6.3D, 6.3E
Grade 7 TEKS: 7.3A, 7.3B, 7.4B