Space Voyage was created and founded in 1987 by Dr. Palmere ( Mr. Palmere then) and fourteen middle school students at Welch Middle School in the Houston Independent School District. In five years of teaching at the middle school level, Dr. Palmere not only tested every educational theory he'd ever learned, he also created interactive learning materials that are still in use in the Houston schools and across the United States.
The initial simulation program was piloted during the 1987-1988 school year and became a stand alone educational program in 1989. Programming included: half-day school seminars, kids’ show centerpieces, and mini-space-camps for business and industry. In 1991, with the help of Jim Allison, then the Gifted and Talented coordinator in the Jefferson County School District, we offered our first high-fidelity summer camp to the students of JeffCo Public Schools in Colorado. The SpaceVoyage Academy was developed, perfected and polished over time. Participants described the camp as "The greatest summer camp in the world."
From the beginning of the program, our intention was to create open-ended, hands-on activities with the "grip" to help students stay motivated and curious about the world around them. Without knowing it, the program became one of the first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs in the United States, before that term became widely used to describe Science, Technology, Engineering and Math educational programs.
Since its beginning, the program has conceptualized, designed, deployed, and evaluated more than 1,000 "hands-on, minds-on", project-based activities, focusing on the career crossover skills critical to being accepted into an astronaut class: spaceflight and pilot skills, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills, and a professional positivity. Activities with such "grip" and opened-ness inspire thinking and encourage perseverance.