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‘We can really make a difference’: New astronomy, rocketry nonprofit launches, focusing on science education

(Update: Update: Adding video, comments from Grossfeld, chairman of the board of directors)

SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new non-profit has been formed, all about astronomy and rocketry, with a goal of supporting science education around the Northwest. 

 "I'm excited, about it because I came to this endeavor, I guess you'd call it, or this interest late in life," John Staiger, chairman of the board for the Cascade Astronomy and Rocketry Academy, said Wednesday.

The new nonprofit officially launched last month in Central Oregon. Its mission is to bring sites and sciences of the cosmos to schools and the wider community through rocketry, science education and astronomy.

The short-term plan is to provide programming in schools and for the public, according to Director Bob Grossfeld.

Grossfeld said, "Now we're working with COCC and Bend La Pine School District, and we're going to move into Crook County, in Jefferson County hopefully by the fall of 2024, if not sooner."

The nonprofit is in the process of raising about $45,000 for equipment and educational materials. 

Staiger said,  "We think we can really make a difference in the educational process for a lot of young people and and old people like me because I'm still learning."

The long-term goals of the academy include building a science center and observatory in Central Oregon. This Sunday, a special program will highlight a NASA mission.

Grossfeld said, "It will be on the Europa Clipper, which is NASA's mission to Europa on the moon, icy moon around Jupiter, and they're going to drop a probe onto Europa. So we're explaining that particular mission and what CARA is all about."

The special program will be presented at Worthy Brewing in Bend.

Here is the full press release:

Robert Grossfeld is the director of the new Cascade Astronomy & Rocketry Academy, a nonprofit supporting science education in the Northwest, which is holding an upcoming special program on the NASA/JPL Mission to Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon. 

At the official launch party held Oct. 20 in Sunriver, Cascade Astronomy & Rocketry Academy announced the mission and plans for the organization. 

Cascade Astronomy & Rocketry Academy's (CARA) mission as a non-profit educational organization is to bring the sights and science of the cosmos to schools and the wider community through astronomy, rocketry, and science education.

"Our plan is to build community partnerships to meet our short- and long-term goals," Grossfeld said in Saturday's announcement.

Support from many different donors has allowed for equipment and funds to support our goals. This includes telescopes and equipment to be used for daytime and nighttime viewing opportunities for educational programs and public access.

In addition, we are presenting a special program on Sunday, November 5th on NASA/JPL Europa Clipper Mission to Jupiter’s Moon. We invite the public to join us for this special program on NASA/JPL Europa Clipper. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in October 2024, but you have an opportunity to be part of the journey.

We will go over details of the Europa Clipper and an overview of Jupiter’s moon. The program is presented by Robert Grossfeld, a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador since 1999 in partnership with Cascade Astronomy & Rocketry Academy (CARA), Got Stars, Central Oregon?, and Worthy Environmental Hopservatory.

Sunday, November 5th, 7pm

Location: Hop Mahal at Worthy Brewery, Bend Oregon- Free event with limited seating, reservations recommended:
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