Shad Canada teams up with Luna Design and Blue Origin

Students participating in a Shad Canada program. Credit: Shad Canada.

Shad Canada is taking its programming virtual and has partnered with Blue Origin for a 20-day program that includes a spaceflight competition.

Shad Canada is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and entrepreneurship not-for-profit registered charity for students in grade 10 and 11.

Shad Canada programs are usually month-long where students work on issues including food security, water management and waste. Part of the goal is to prepare them to tackle social and economic challenges.

This year COVID-19 has forced them to rethink their program. The end result is that 600 high school students are participating in synchronous online sessions which started on July 6. Programming also includes asynchronous sessions allowing for participation from different time zones and home life responsibilities.

Keynote speakers include Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Dr. Donna Strickland, Jeff Cyr and Michele Romanow.

Tim Jackson, President and CEO, Shad Canada commented on the change from in-person programming to the virtual environment. “The Shad program is based on the principles of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity, so it was only natural for us to take our live-in STEAM program online. We were very purposeful in the design of ShadOnline and started with intended impacts that clearly identified our program goals. We partnered with Luna Design and Innovation to custom design sessions for a spaceflight competition – which will be the first ever in Canada – with the visionary space leader Blue Origin.”

Blue Origin New Shepard launch. Credit: Blue Origin.
Blue Origin New Shepard launch. Credit: Blue Origin.

Blue Origin partnership

Blue Origin crew capsule with microgravity payloads
Blue Origin crew capsule with microgravity payloads. Credit: Blue Origin.

According to Shad “participants in ShadOnline will work in pan-Canada teams and pitch a microgravity research experiment that they believe will have an impact on humankind. Projects will demonstrate a meaningful and creative way to use space as a research platform, and bring value to the scientific community. One winning team will build and fly their experiment on a future flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. “

Dr. Erika Wagner, payload sales director for Blue Origin said of the partnering with Shad Canada. “Blue Origin is passionate about the future of people living and working in space to benefit Earth. Through payloads on our reusable New Shepard vehicle, we hope to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM and invite them to visualize their own possibilities in space.”

The Shad Canada program runs through July 31.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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