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Events - Excursions

6 young engineers from Leipzig are at the forefront as NASA VIPs for the launch of Artemis 1

photos Cosmas blog  Rovernauts Launchreports  Raumfahrt Concret  Werner-Heisenberg-School  


It is a promise made by Prof. Dr. von Puttkamer from Leipzig that has been kept 10 years after his death. When the Space Education Institute was first founded in Leipzig in 2005, he said: "If you stay involved with it, space will be open to you, and you will be right at the very front during the launch back to the moon". This was the same year that the first Space Shuttle had been launched again after the Columbia disaster. The professor was working on future long-term programs along with private participation, which are now coming to fruition. The couple, Yvonne and Ralf Heckel from Leipzig, were selected by him and invited to the first "Return to Flight" launch of the "Discovery" with the words: "Don't leave me hanging now. You are sitting next to the astronauts' families in the first row". But it took 2 flights to Florida and several launch attempts before the spacecraft finally took off.

Now 17 years have passed and, since then, a school for young engineers with an environment-friendly campus with the name "Puttkamer" has been established in Leipzig,  where Yvonne and Ralf have guided international pupils and students through the world of space travel on countless occasions. Here, 44 NASA rovers have been built by young engineers and three world championship titles were won at competitions. Leipzig has become a prestigious location for young international spaceflight talents. No one is closer: numerous pilots, space engineers and aspiring astronauts have begun their careers here. Additionally, the proportion of girls is even higher than that of boys.


Currently, the next giant moon rocket, named "Artemis 1", is standing on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, its height even surpassing that of Leipzig's 33-story business tower. The invitation for the team from Leipzig came directly from NASA headquarters and Professor von Puttkamer's work colleagues. Naturally, Yvonne and Ralf have been invited, as well as the current NASA rover of the 15-year-old experienced pilot, Cosma. Cosma is a member of the Youth Council of the US General Consulate in Leipzig. Her team, consisting of 8 to 17-year-old young inventors, represents not only Germany and the Free State of Saxony, but also the Jesco von Puttkamer School, Leipzig's Humbold Gymnasium, the Werner Heisenberg School, the Quartiersschule Ihmelsstraße and the 74th Primary School of Leipzig.

In addition, Yvonne and Ralf are leading 20 other international pupils and students to the VIP area at Banana Creek.They all come from the fellow educational institutions TEC Monterrey Campus Cuernavaca, UNAQ, Mc Kinley high school and TecMantra (USA, Mexico, India). Among them is aspiring astronaut Jasleen Kaur and Tesla-engeneer Valeria Vazquez Zafra. Banana Creek is a lagoon merely 3 kilometers away from the launch site and it is exclusive for NASA's closest advisors and family members.

Artemis 1 consists of the new heavy-lift rocket SLS (a symbiosis of the Apollo moon rocket Saturn V and Space Shuttle) and the Orion space capsule, large enough for a crew of 6 people. First, there will be an unmanned test flight around the moon and a re-entering of the Earth's atmosphere at 32 times the speed of sound. Earthquake sensors around the world will be able to register the launch and the fly-over. 

Three launch windows are planned for the 29.8., 2.9. and 5.9.2022. This rocket will be the most complicated machine to ever lift off from the ground. Hence, it is not yet clear whether the computer will interrupt the countdown. The first launch of the Space Shuttle took 2 years. Artemis 1 also has 5 different time windows between September and December 2022.

All participants will be writing a blog which will be updated daily on and their Facebook fan page. On 25 August, the plane will take off with these "transatlantic ambassadors of the future".






Yvonne Heckel (47) Managing Director International Space Education Institute
Ralf Heckel (53) Head of the International Space Education Institute
Arthur Sommer (17) Copilot Rovernauts, Basketball player, Heisenberg High School
Cosma (15) Pilot Rovernauts, CAD designer, Humbold Gymnasium
Tara (13) Social Media, soccer player Ihmelstraße secondary school
Jesco (8) Tinkerer, CAD designer, trike rider, 74th elementary school

International NASA-VIP-guests, hosted by International Space Education Institute for Artemis 1 launch-viewing & tour:

Kenneth Lesley, McKinley Highschool Washington DC, USA
David Garcia Suarez, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Daniela Espinosa Biosca, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Cuba
Ian Doring Romo, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Jorge Emiliano Turner Escalante, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Sebastián Cruz Espinosa de los Monteros, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Jorge Abraham Vega Méndez, Tec Monterrey, Campus Cuernavaca, Mexico
Valeria Vazquez Zafra, Tesla, California
Alina Sandra Santander Vinokurova, Team Bolivia
Navdeep Singh Singh, TecMantra Global, India
Navpreet Kaur Kaur, TecMantra Global, India
Sarvik Singh Josan, TecMantra Global, India
Ashmeet Singh Singh, TecMantra Global, India
Hari Sundar Bhujel, STEM-Society Nepal

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Events - Excursions

Leipzig, December 07

An "All-Girl-Team" at the Moonbuggy Race is a novelty - it will come! 2009 was the moon year (Apollo11, Luna 2, Lcross-Impact, Ares1X). The big goal is in sight. 2011 is the human spaceflight year (50 years Gagarin/Shepard). In Leipzig (Germany), the 12 to 19 year old students from Germany, Indonesia and Hungary are preparing for the NASA Moonbuggy Race in April 2010. Most beautiful are the 8 girls from Hungary - this next generation of youngsters need no big boys to be future engineers.

gallery movies

Success 2009:

With their participation now in its 4th year, the German Team want to get to the top 3 in the demanding construction competition. Ten international awards and a 6th prize runner up in the international time score are not enough, although the German students lead the international league three years running as the first non-US and the only European team. Now they are trailblazers and invite the other european countries. “It is a special responsibility for us and a great heritage.” In summer and late fall 2009 they traveled more than 8000 miles with their Moonbuggy and made presentations in more than 10 countries.

youtube flickr


Moonbuggy as CAD-fullversion: It's do or die now. at stake are five cutting edge Moonbuggies which are part of a mini-series for polytechnic working groups in european schools. This initiative aims to offer early possibilities for development of visionary innovations in space business, automotive engineering, environmental technology, satellite navigation, handworks, management - and of course: the first stage to the NASA Moonbuggy Race.

movies gallery




Fall 2009:

For this cause, 11 students sacrificed their autumn holidays. There was no time to chill out and relax, but everyone had fun. The program of the International Space Education Institute only foresaw one weekend for spending time with the family. Aside from that, it was back to school - in English - for 16 hands-on seminars, tinkering in the workshop, training and exercise, 8 visits to engine manufacturers led by expert guides, and a qualifying examination for the Chamber of Handicraft.
photos and movies: klick


The basement: There were two fundamental changes in the educational strategy of the Space Education Institute since its international registration at the district court of Leipzig. Due to its international interests, lessons are delivered exclusively in English, and more attention is devoted to integrity in craft, trade and engineering. This is how a new cooperation with the Chamber of Handicraft Leipzig and the VDI (Association of German Engineers) was developed during these autumn holidays. The VDI offers support to those learning engineering in the area of computer-aided design (CAD), and the Chamber of Handicraft provides training sessions in the educational workshop facilities of the Training and Technology Centre Borsdorf. International chambers of trade shows interess to participate. There is the ESA Business Incubation center in Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany) and the chamber of trade in Hungary. In the area of electronics, radio and sensor technology, the Space Education Institute successfully collaborated with the amateur radio society AATiS. So a independent European network of spaceeducation on international tracks is growing up, currently donated by their founders Yvonne and Ralf Heckel. Both are ambassadors of the Space Camp in Huntsville.
In general, our education efforts continue to be oriented towards international goals in technology, natural sciences and management. The program is designed to develop the creative, resourceful and independent engineer and master craftsman. Spaceflight and multi-nationality serve both as vision and challenge. The only activity that could not be implemented was an excursion to the European ministerial conference on economic affairs in Stirin (close to Prague). Although seminars were planned on the professional future of the young generation in Human Spaceflight, Brussels denied the student editors access to the conference. The board of the Institute acknowledged this attitude as unprecedented amongst all other space-faring nations.

all activities since June 2009: klick
overview since 2005: klick


young rocketeer with an age of 12

However, Philipp (12), a 6th grader from Burgstädt Grammar School, was proud to receive his certificate from the Chamber of Trade and says: "In the 3 years of working in my old study group in Chemnitz, I've never learned as much as I did during these holidays." Philipp achieved success in creating a soldered electronic component, a filed cube and two folded sheet metal boxes. He now knows what a test laboratory is, how to mill a 3D part using a CAD file, and how to turn parts in a lathe. Using a simplified format and explaining in English, he has already passed his knowledge on to an international holiday group at a private Leipzig language school as a team leader during a craft workshop. Philipp passed the Chamber of Trade entrance examination for metal structure, designed for grade 9, with a surprisingly high score. In December 2009 Philip finished his first Moonbuggy pieces and is starting to create a Ares-Rocket CAD-Model. He is dreaming from space - and has an age of Dr. Wernher von Braun as he did the same.

Fotos auf Flickr

Venice - the host of young networkers

International exchange need a simpel roof. The International Space Education Institute has a "Space-Hostel" for their international students. They are members at the Hostelsclub (16.000 hostels in 120 countries). This is a basic for independent student exchange. A annual party in Venice is for motivation and inspiration. At the Pisani Moretta Palace the young folks were celebrated a new time and made hundreds of contacts into the future.


Fotos auf Flickr



Team Indonesia went out:

After a 3 month work the Moonbuggy Team Indonesia stopped their engagement. The challenge is to hard for three areas: regular school, paperwork for travel and shipping, design a moonbuggy. We wish most success and look forward to a next time.

Fotos auf Flickr


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Events - Excursions
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Auf Spurensuche nach dem Sputnik-Vater

Sputnik und NASA haben ihren Ursprung zwischen Ostsee und Thüringer Wald, 66 Jahre Start der ersten Rakete in den Weltraum, 51. Jahre Sputnik-Start, 50 Jahre NASA


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Gleich vier große Jubiläen fallen in den Zeitraum der vergangenen 12 Monate. 50. Jahre Sputnik, 50 Jahre Hündin Laika, 50 Jahre erster US-Satellit „Explorer One“ und 50 Jahre NASA. Vor 66 Jahren flog die erste Rakete in den Weltraum und heute ist die Raumstation ISS bereits seit 10 Jahren im Orbit.

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