PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
When a Delta IV Heavy rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station June 11, 2016, it was joined by more than 100 additional rockets launching from Patrick Air Force Base.
The Delta IV was carrying a satellite into space, while the much-smaller model rockets were part of All SySTEMs Go, the first-ever 45th Space Wing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math event. The event is designed to teach the next generation about career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.
Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander, kicked off the event with the model rocket launch before heading to the Cape to be the mission Launch Decision Authority for the Delta IV launch. With the assistance of the youngsters in the crowd, he said, the morning flight performed flawlessly, just like the launch conducted later in the day.
"Here at the 45th Space Wing, we rely on science, technology, engineering and math every single day," said General Monteith. "Innovation doesn't really come from new technology, its genesis is the human mind. Quite frankly we have some of the brightest minds in the world here on the Space Coast so I believe we have a responsibility to introduce the next generation to the intellectual opportunities that will drive the future."
The goal of the event, which was hosted by the 45th Space Wing in partnership with multiple agencies in the area, was to get more children interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"Our goal is to inform and excite students of the different types of STEM opportunities because there are so many opportunities out there for them," said Glenn Smith, 45th Force Support Squadron Force Development Flight chief.
More than 300 children were in attendance at the event, which is in line with a President-directed program.
"[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world..." President Barack Obama said March 23, 2015.
Participants in the STEM event did just that, using interactive displays, demonstrations and activities to teach children of all ages.
Some of the learning was facilitated by Airmen. The 45th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Air Force Recruiting, 114th Space Control Squadron and the 45th Weather Squadron had Airmen available to share the latest technology with children and explain various careers in the Air Force.
In some of the events, children were the creators and teachers of the displays. One display using a snake built of Legos paired with software so that it would move similarly to a remote control car, built by 8-year-old Annika from the West Melbourne School for Science, attracted children of all ages.
Annika demonstrated the model snake, and taught other children at the event how to control and move the snake using a tablet.
"I like life science and physical science and making things fun in order to learn more about technology and science," she said.
Additionally, Zain, 11, and Andrew, 10, used Scratch software, a software program, and a Makey Makey kit, an electronic invention tool that allows users to connect everyday objects to computer programs, to create a piano by using paper, graphite and tinfoil. Both boys have about 1.5 years in the robotics program at their school.
"This is kind of like coding, but with real life," said Andrew, who plays the piano, and used his music background paired with his interest in robotics to help create the piano. "I like the part where you can interact with it."
The event provided the 45th Space Wing with an opportunity to introduce children to STEM and to bring together children with similar interests and highlight their passion.