Red Canyon Software

NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org

Red Canyon Sofware - Exploring Other Planets, Improving Our Own

Instill a passion about science & math with younger generations

Red Canyon supports Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education by participating in school or customer events, sponsoring educational groups, and even creating software for NASA that teaches students about space!

Young Minds at Work 2017
Red Canyon hosted an activity lab at Lockheed Martin's annual Young Minds at Work Day on April 27th, 2017. Children who visited the lab got to play space-related computer games, including MarsFlight which was created by Red Canyon for NASA. They also used cardboard headsets and mobile phones to try out a custom Virtual Reality (VR) app designed for Red Canyon by Logan Clark! Visitors got to take home a Red Canyon sticker and their own cardboard VR headset with a QR Code to our Free Apps page, containing links to a variety of Multiple VR apps to be used with the headsets, as well as links to download the computer games demoed at the event.

Many thanks to Dave Clark for his support in planning and executing the event, and to Logan Clark for creating the Red Canyon VR app! Red Canyon engineers Lisa Akers and Tess Falor also volunteered during the event.

Tess assisted the children in finding a spot in the lab, handed out the take-home items, and, before the event, helped us procure several Android phones that were used with the VR app and headsets! Tess said, “I really enjoyed this event because the kids were excited about what we had to show them. It was fun to see them get excited about planets and spacecraft.”

Lisa helped guide the children through the lab and provided them assistance in running the computer games. In addition to supporting the Red Canyon lab, she also led tours of the Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) hardware in another location on the Lockheed campus, teaching the children about the system, what it does, and why it looks the way it does! Lisa said, “I think the most valuable part of helping with STEM activities is that kids start to see that there is more to science than equations and thick engineering books. There’s art, there’s logic, there’s imagination. Because, after all, engineering is creativity made into a functional reality. When you inspire creative kids to think about the things they see every day as once being the creative spark in an engineer’s mind, they start to see that the key skills they learn in math, science, and physics are not so ‘useless,’ but are instead the tools for a different kind of art.”

Young Minds at Work 2016
Lockheed Martin Space Systems does an annual Young Minds at Work day, allowing Lockheed employees bring their children to work to see what their parents do all day. Lockheed sets up some amazing activities that show the interesting complexity of what engineering and space science is all about. Red Canyon has supported this great event with a software lab. In this lab, we set up a dozen monitors with Red Canyon-programmed software running. The programs Red Canyon ran were MarsFlight, a game allowing players to pilot a plane on Mars, using real images of the surface of the planet. This program was developed by Red Canyon for NASA as a Phase I & II SBIR. The second software program, LunarSim, was also an SBIR project for NASA that explores how to set up a lunar base. This tool allows the participant to understand the dynamics that go into the full measure of planning and execute a human-populated lunar colony. For the Red Canyon software lab at Locheed, there was typically a 30-minute line to get in and explore these two simulations. There was also a Space Shuttle landing simulation that was a big hit and between the three games, there was no shortage of young minds that were excited to learn and participate.

Space Camp & Rocket Launch
Red Canyon's Rasmey "Raz" Phou visited the Space Camp at the Ross-Barnum Library in March 2017, to help kids with some hands-on projects. The 8 to 13-year-olds were very curious about space, rockets, and planets, and had many questions! Raz helped the kids with Sphero (Star Wars) robots, and organized scavenger hunts to help with specific skill sets and code breaking. They were then able to find the “fuel” (Alka-Seltzer tablets) to launch canister rockets! Below is a video of the kids successfully launching their rockets!

NASA HUNCH Program Project Reviews
In January 2017, Red Canyon engineer Tess Falor participated as a design reviewer for the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program, where over 40 Colorado high school teams gathered at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver. The students' mission was to present ideas and prototypes of projects that would be beneficial to astronauts on the International Space Station. Projects included hardware to keep the astronauts secured in the Cupola (the room with windows that they take photos in), a knee-board to store tools, a WiFi poker game, ways to better preserve fresh produce, and containers to transport mice! Below is a photo of two students and their project! 

Fargo South High School Hall of Fame
Red Canyon employee Dan Smith recently traveled back to his high school in Fargo, ND.  While there, he was invited to speak to students about his career as an Electrical Engineer.  Dan spoke to 3 different classes, including 2 Advanced Placement classes.  His presentations focused heavily on the space program with an emphasis on his recent contributions to the Orion Multi-purpose Crew Vehicle.  Dan emphasized the importance of studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as well as the value of a college education in enhancing future career opportunities.  In this photo, Dan is talking about some of his efforts to promote STEM, including a GESTEM seminar that encouraged 7th and 8th grade girls to think about planning a 3 year mission to Mars.

Dan Smith Presenting

CU Career Day
The University of Colorado (CU) career day has become an annual event at which college-level students are coached on resume building and what areas of business they might consider for a future career. Red Canyon had a table and spoke with over 500 students who were eager to pick our brains and hand out their current resumes. Their questions and focused discussion was so in-depth that after 3 hours all the professionals were drained and exhausted. Many of these college-level students will make up the future of the space exploration industry.

Slavens Career Day
Red Canyon's CEO, Barry Hamilton, attended the Slavens Academy Career Day to speak about his experience as an aerospace engineer and encourage students to participate in STEM learning. Red Canyon also made a donation to Slavens Academy in support of their mission to teach STEM to Denver children.

Free to Be Me Job Showcase, Valverde Elementary School
Red Canyon's Kelly Bezjak attended the Free to Be Me showcase at Valverde Elementary school to speak about the aerospace engineering industry. Red Canyon sent a computer and equipment to provide a playable demo to students at the event. She also handed out free CDs containing MarsFlight and LunarSim so that the students could play the games at home!

Palmer High School Visit
Red Canyon's Edgar Johansson spent an afternoon in a classroom at Palmer Ridge High School. Red Canyon was invited into the classroom of freshmen and sophomores to introduce the career path of engineering and space science. About 30 students participated and they discussed what interested the students. At first it was a little slow and questions were more giggles, but as the students opened up, questions about the Jovian moons and the Orion mission topped the discussion. A video of the Orion program was shown and the students became even more excited. Many of the students' parents work for Lockheed Martin, so they already possessed some knowledge on these topics, but of course there is always room to learn when it come to space. The students were also shown the Neil deGrasse Tyson video called “We stopped Dreaming” which looks at the hows and whys of the space race and why we are at the point in exploration we are experiencing. The students were encouraged to discuss where they think this kind of science can go and what they want to do to advance space travel. At the end of the day, the students were very excited and eager to find out how they can be a part of the future.

Dinosaurs in Space
Red Canyon's Pamela Burke has participated in two visits to local College View and Runyon Elementary schools to present to nearly 300 students in grades three through 5. The three-person presentation team spoke about the dinosaur fossil tooth from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that flew aboard the Orion EFT-1 flight in December, 2014. The team exhibited a 3-D printed replica of the tooth and were met with endless questions from the excited students!