Students at Piedmont Virginia Community College will host Family Space Exploration Day on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 1 to 4 p.m., on PVCC’s Main Campus in Charlottesville.

The free event, which is intended to showcase the role of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in society with an emphasis on space exploration, will include a variety of activities for families and children. Activities include model rocket building and launching, robotics demonstrations and several family-oriented activities sponsored by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Guest speakers at the event will include Kathryn Thornton, a former NASA astronaut who currently heads up the Aerospace Engineering Program at the University of Virginia, and NRAO representative Matthew Morgan, who will discuss space observation technologies.

The event is sponsored by the Piedmont Student Launch Team, a group of more than 20 students who are currently participating in NASA’s highly competitive Student Launch program. NASA’s student launch initiative is an eight-month engineering project that challenges students at U.S. colleges and universities to design, build and fly high-powered rockets and experimental payloads to meet a complex set of challenges specified by NASA. This will be the second time that the PVCC team has competed in the national competition, having successfully designed, built and flown a rocket of its own design in April 2017.

To learn more about the event, visit To learn more about the Piedmont Student Launch Team or donate in support of the team’s 2017-18 project, visit