One Giant Leap Australia Foundation & F1 in Schools team Axion from Penrith Christian School


Jackie and Bob Carpenter from One Giant Leap Australia Foundation have been a cornerstone in supporting Ella Stoodley (Axion Manufacturing Engineer) with the surface finish of the NSW State and National race cars.
Bob Carpenter has extensive experience in the aeromodelling field and knows how to finish a plane with aerodynamics and a high end polished finish. Collaborating with Bob in F1 in Schools was a dream come true for Ella.

Ella along with team Axion visited Bob at his home and learnt many skills in his work shop. Bob coached Ella in the art of working with balsa wood and the techniques in producing a smooth finish. Bob’s knowledge of balsa wood is extensive and his insights from past experiences are endless. With continued collaboration, Ella is now infusing her car finishing techniques based on Bobs continued coaching and feedback.
At the NSW State final, Ella manufactured the fastest car in Australia with a time of 1.084 seconds.
Ella is now preparing two new cars for the Australian National Final to be held from the 22nd of April 2021. Ella is hoping to again achieve very fast times on the race track and help team Axion gain as many points as possible in the hope of advancing to the World Finals in 2022.

One Giant Leap Australia Foundation & F1 in Schools team Axion from Penrith Christian School2021-04-14T08:27:36+00:00

KIBO RPC Finals!


Students from Galen Catholic College, Wangaratta, have reached new heights in coding. The team of Galen VEX students coded their way into history, by being one of 3 teams that successfully completed the space mission for JAXA’s inaugural Kibo Robotic Programming Challenge: KiboRPC.

300 teams entered the competition from around the world, seven made it to the final, and only 3 successfully completed the final mission in Space: Indonesia (first), Thailand (second) and Australia (third), with Japan, UAE, Taiwan, Singapore not being able to complete the space mission successfully. Huge Congratulations goes out to the secondary students from regional Victoria – Galen VEX! Go Aussies!

Read more: galen-kibo-team-reach-new-heights

KIBO RPC Finals!2020-10-16T23:13:36+00:00

Taking You Higher – A Women in Space Teleconference


Sally Tindall, Shannon McConnell and Alice Gorman. A future astronaut, a Deep Space expert and a space archaeologist will inspire us and then answer questions about careers in space. An ‘out of this world’ event moderated by Coco Dobbie, a One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Ambassador. This teleconference will be on Thursday 24th September from 6 to 7 pm (AEST).

Dr Alice Gorman: Space Archaeologist

Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, space habitats, rocket launch pads and antennas. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide and a heritage consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with Indigenous communities in Australia. In collaboration with NASA and Chapman University, she is conducting the first archaeological study of the International Space Station. She is a mentor in the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs Space4Women Mentor Network. Her book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (MIT Press, 2019) won the NIB Literary Award People’s Choice for Non-Fiction and the John Mulvaney Book Award. She tweets as @drspacejunk and blogs at Space Age Archaeology.

Sally Tindall: Astronaut-to-be

Sally is a pilot for Virgin Australia, but she is also an astronaut candidate at AdvancingX. She is aiming to become Australia’s first citizen in space (previous Australian born astronauts had to become American citizens before they went into space).

Sally is also a highly accomplished academic with 5 degrees: RMIT Bachelor of Applied Science (Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science & Technology, General); RMIT Master of Science (Applied psychology); Swinburne UT Master of Engineering: Master of Aviation Human Factors (Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science & Technology, General) x 2; Ambulance Victoria Graduate Diploma in Emergency Medicine.

Shannon McConnell: NASA Rocket Scientist

Shannon works for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and served as the Deep Space Network Public Engagement Manager.

Shannon has been introducing students to the excitement of space exploration since 1998. She has led the Galileo Outreach Team, the Cassini Formal Education Team, and the Deep Space Network Education and Public Outreach Office.

Before her work in outreach and education, Shannon worked mission planning and design for the Cassini Spacecraft, Sequence design and execution for the Galileo Mission, and Data Analysis for the Magellan Mission. Shannon also spent 1993-1994 working payload operations for 2 Space Shuttle Flights managed by JPL.

Shannon holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Astronomy and Environmental Engineering (University of Southern California) as well as being a Committee Chair for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Her professional affiliations include membership in the National Association of Interpretation, National Science Teachers Association, and National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics. Shannon is also a current member of the Board of Trustees for Don Bosco Technical Institute in Rosemead, California.

Shannon has travelled to 50 countries on all 7 continents and is always on the lookout for a new adventure. Shannon lives in Altadena, California.

Secure your place at this event at:

This event is brought to you by Charles Sturt University and One Giant Leap Australia Foundation.

Taking You Higher – A Women in Space Teleconference2020-09-08T03:25:53+00:00

Have you signed up? Are you the Artemis Generation?


NASA ARTEMIS TEAM – a free teleconference with an Orion Engineer

Join Heather Paul as she takes us on an inspirational voyage of discovery about Artemis, Orion and aerospace STEM careers.
Heather is a highly experience science communicator who has a passion for education outreach. She currently is the Health, Medical and Technical Authority of the Orion Crew and Service Module as well as the Senior Manager of the Human Health Countermeasures Exercise and Performance Portfolio.

She has coordinated 2,195 education, public outreach, and strategic communications events. Heather has personally supported 627 events, resulting in personal interactions with 90,320 students of all grade levels, educators, and adults from around the world.
Amongst many other things, Heather has completed over 400 parabolas (microgravity, lunar, and mars) on reduced gravity aircraft!

Specialties: Human factors and human performance science and research; mechanical engineering; systems engineering; exercise physiology; life support system design and technology development; project planning, management, and implementation; communications and public speaking; public relations; business development; technical writing; and education and public outreach.

This FREE teleconference will be at 10: 45 am 21st August (AEST time) to allow for all Australian schools to be part of this amazing experience.

If you are interested in registering your school, please email: [email protected] for a ZOOM invitation.

This FREE teleconference is brought to you by Lockheed Martin Australia, Artemis and One Giant Leap Australia Foundation.

Have you signed up? Are you the Artemis Generation?2020-08-10T03:29:24+00:00

Splash landing of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Mission


The SpaceX Crew Dragon expedition was full of firsts. It was the first crewed orbital launch to depart from the United States since the final flight of the space shuttle fleet in July 2011. It was the first manned commercial space flight. And it was the first ocean landing return in over four decades, as the previous one occurred in 1975. So witnessing the splash landing of the Crew Dragon capsule and the safe return of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, signalling a successful end to this historic mission, was truly an amazing experience for many, especially those in younger generations who have never seen a live, return to Earth, ocean landing before. Student Ambassador Nicola said that this was the first all USA space mission she has personally witnessed (she was still quite young when the last space shuttle mission took place) and the first ocean landing during her lifetime.

Many of our One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassadors were amongst those who anxiously watched the launch several months ago, then eagerly watched again recently as the astronauts Bob and Doug returned to Earth. All excited and anticipating the mission’s success but worrying about all the things that could go wrong. The relief and elation when the capsule splashed down, and then the astronauts’ safety was confirmed, was felt by so many around the world, who then let out a collective sigh of relief.
Student Ambassador Shalin spoke of her experience watching the mission from beginning to end. She says the anticipation of the launch was almost overwhelming as it was the first launch she had ever watched in her life. The initial countdown had her sweating due to nerves- she felt as if she were about to launch with the astronauts! Shalin felt great joy when the launch was successful and relief when she later learned that they had made it safely to the International Space Station. To then see the mission be completed with a safe return to Earth was such an amazing experience and has just served to fuel Shalin’s interest in astronomy and space. She feels incredibly lucky to be living in this time and being witness to space exploration really taking off again.

Photo 1: SpaceX Dragon Capsule (Image credit: FLICKR/GPL)]
Photo 2: SpaceX Crew Dragon Landing (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Photo 3: SpaceX Crew Dragon Landing Splashdown (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Photos 4: SpaceX Dragon Landing Retrieval (Image credit: NASATV)

Splash landing of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Mission2020-08-05T14:42:37+00:00

Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch and the Tradition of Good-luck Peanuts


The One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassadors were in their homes watching the recent live Mars 2020 launch, but they were still able to share their joy and excitement with each other via Messenger.

While watching the broadcast and waiting nervously for the launch, they kept a close eye out to see if they could spot their great friend from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) – Todd Barber who was working in Mission Control for the launch. Todd is a wonderful supporter of One Giant Leap Australia Foundation. He volunteers his time to inspire Australian students in teleconferences from his workplace in Pasadena. He sent us a picture of him at one of the training days in the lead up to the launch day! (See below)

Founder and director of One Giant Leap Australia, Jackie Carpenter also educated the Student Ambassadors about the significance of Good-luck peanuts. Todd reported that there was a slight change to the long running tradition this time due to Covid-19 restrictions. Instead of sharing a jar of good luck peanuts in Mission Control, they each had their own small packet. Many supporters and associates, including Rachel Zimmerman Brachman from NASA JPL, also indulged in their own good-luck peanuts while watching the launch. You can never have too much good luck!

(Read about the tradition of Good-luck peanuts here:

After lift-off, Jackie and one of the extremely knowledgeable student ambassadors Josh, gave the rest of the group lessons about what the different terms such as MECO, Max Q, perigee and apogee values meant. There was so much excitement, but it was a real learning opportunity too. Some of the ambassadors were also using the launch event to educate their family members.
Student Ambassador Shalin spoke of the experience: “This was the MOST amazing thing ever. I was so emotional throughout the whole process because even though we have sent things to other planets before, this was the first time I was old enough and aware enough to truly understand the significance. So, this was extremely exciting for me and I can’t wait to see what Perseverance brings back to us and what we will learn from that”.

Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch and the Tradition of Good-luck Peanuts2020-08-04T02:31:09+00:00

Ezra’s Epic Multi-Day Hiking Challenge


One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassador Ezra recently completed a multi-day hike for his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Level Award. The walk started at Thornleigh train station and ended nearly eighty kilometres, and six days later at Wondabyne station. This walk covers a number of sections of the Great North Walk, which extends between Sydney and Newcastle.

Ezra said the terrain was challenging with a lot of rugged ascents and descents along the way, with little relief in between. During some of these sections Ezra said he felt quite nervous about his ability to complete the walk when the sections classified as moderate were extremely challenging, and he knew they had sections classified as hard in the days to come. Despite his nerves and the difficulty of the walk, Ezra rose to the challenge and completed the walk. In the end he said although it was really tough, it wasn’t quite as bad as he feared.

Overall, Ezra found the experience extremely rewarding. “The best parts were the awesome people I went with, the many stunning views we enjoyed along the way, which were a reward after the difficult climbs, and the sense of achievement of completing such a tough challenge.”

Ezra’s Epic Multi-Day Hiking Challenge2020-07-29T02:30:03+00:00

STEM Girl Power Presentations – NSW inspires Queensland!


One Giant Leap Australia Foundation student ambassador (Jessica, Coco, Nicola and I) were chosen to lead and present in a STEM Girl Power event for the Queensland Education Department.

We presented our journey into STEM, our motivations for wanting to pursue a career in STEM, how we incorporated STEM our daily lives and how we participated in different activities that motivated and pushed us into the right future direction.

We each created a fun and engaging presentation which was individual and personal to us. We all had a different story to share, and different ways we fell in love with STEM activities, but we all shared a common goal – to inspire young women in STEM.
We spoke about our roles as STEM leaders in our community and how we contributed, and we hope to motivate these girls from Queensland into participating in some activities of their own.

Although we created different and personal presentations, our messages all shone through. Coco’s inspirational message was to believe in yourself even when others don’t. She shared her experiences of being a female in a very male-dominated environment, which traditionally STEM used to be, but now we are progressing into a future STEM industry with equality. She certainly motivated them, and even some of the presenters including me!

My presentation was mainly oriented around being an Arts student yet being able to incorporate STEM into my future career goals and aspirations. I spoke about my experiences at Space Camp, meeting the astrobiologist Michael Malaska and how I became inspired by him to pursue a career in science writing, along with making aware to the girls that you do not need to be amazing at STEM topics to love STEM.

All of the other girls who presented alongside me shared this same mindset, and when I was asked a question by one of the listeners on how I accessed resources to realise what I wanted to do in the future, I was touched that I was able to get someone thinking about their own potential future.

Inspiring others in turn inspires us, and Jessica made this point clear in her presentation. She spoke about helping others recognise their passion and their potentials, and hence she said that this was why she started an all-girls programming, coding and robotics team called ‘Gadget Girls’. These brilliantly talented girls are competing in the Kibo Robotics Programming Challenge, and despite facing challenges such as the distance between them, Jessica says that this motivates them even further to connect and build up their teamwork skills. Her great message was that although you may not have the skills already to take part in STEM-related activities, it is only a great opportunity to grow.

Nicola, who was our final presenter and also a member of the Gadget Girls agreed, and claimed that this team, along with activities she participated in Space Camp 2019 such as building rockets, completing space missions, learning to dive, taking part in astronomy and much more, really inspired her to consider STEM in the future.

For all of us it seemed that going on the Space Camp 2019 program organised by One Giant Leap, really had an amazing impact on our lives, and encouraged us to really step outside of our individual comfort zones.

At the end of our presentations we had hoped to motivate and encourage any girls to partake in the STEM opportunities that they may come across, and one girl reached out to us. “I have really been lacking a lot of passion lately. At school we are taking about future career options and I am very lost. Just that short talk with your girls this afternoon has already inspired me so much,” she said. Once we read this, we were all so overwhelmed with pride and happiness.

Being able to make a different to just one person was a great experience, and we completely understood her current situation having been through it all ourselves. One of the best pieces of advice that we could give to anyone who is experiencing that lack of motivation and passion is that you should put your hand up and take on every opportunity presented to you, because you will never know when an activity, a person, a fact or even an object can inspire you.

As Marie Curie said, “We must have perseverance, and above all, confidence in ourselves.”

Written by Suzana Thapa
One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassador and Science Communicator

STEM Girl Power Presentations – NSW inspires Queensland!2020-07-28T02:47:35+00:00

One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassadors and the STEM Girl Power Initiative


Four of our female One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassadors (Nicola, Coco, Jessica and Suzana) have been selected by a representative of the Queensland Government to make a presentation via teleconference to girls registered for their STEM Girl Power Program. Our ambassadors will be talking about their individual journeys in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Each of our student ambassadors have different goals, but they are all related to STEM and they wish to inspire other girls to seek out and participate in as many opportunities in the STEM field as they can.

The STEM Girl Power Program is an initiative of the Queensland State Government to support and encourage girls to follow Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pathways in education and future careers. The program participants are year 10 students who are given opportunities to connect with female STEM role models. They are also given support to hone skills such as public speaking and self-confidence. At the end of the program the girls are encouraged to inspire others by being STEM Ambassadors in both their school and local community.
Coco will be speaking about her lifelong interest in STEM that grew during her time on the One Giant Leap Australia USA Space Camp Tour and how she is following a STEM pathway which is important for her future plans and to achieve her goal of becoming an astronaut.

Suzana will be talking about her own journey, and how she is working towards becoming a science writer to combine her interest in STEM and love of English and writing. Thanks to One Giant Leap Australia Suzana had the opportunity to co-write an article, published in RAAFA Wings magazine, recounting her experiences at Space Camp and how it opened up the pathway and inspired her to become a science writer.

Nicola will be speaking of her experiences attending the One Giant Leap Australia Space Camp Tour, and the opportunities and experiences she has had since then as one of the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassadors including being part of the Future Leaders Academy and assisting at events such as STEAM Dreaming.

Jessica will be talking about her involvement with One Giant Leap Australia and being the team manager of the Gadget Girls who are participating in the KIBO Robot Programming Challenge and working to break down stereotypes. She is passionate about STEM and encouraging others to follow their dreams.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation student ambassadors to speak about their interests and goals, and to inspire other young women who are interested in STEM.

One Giant Leap Australia Foundation Student Ambassadors and the STEM Girl Power Initiative2020-07-22T13:31:43+00:00

Galen VEX and the KIBO Robot Programming Challenge Training and Support Program


The two day workshop:

When we first saw the KIBO Robot Program Challenge (KIBO – RPC) it excited us all. Even though we are from a small regional area, we had the confidence to give this a go.

We got our heads around the concept of the challenge. However, once we started looking more closely at the programming involved, we began to have our doubts. One Giant Leap Australia Foundation invited us to participate in a two day workshop with an expert programmer. We jumped at the chance!

We have now completed the workshop and have a better understanding of what is required for the task. We still need to “debug” the simulator, as it keeps crashing on us! However, we know we have Bob, Heney and Jackie ready to support us.

The team:

Jorja is in Year 10 at Galen Catholic College. Jorja is eager to learn more about coding via the KIBO – RPC. She hopes to have a career in cybersecurity and feels that the being part of a team developing solutions to the challenge will give her a great platform to head off to tertiary studies.

Ryan is in Year 11 at Galen Catholic College. Ryan is a great ideas person. He has solid programming skills and is always called upon to assist the key programmer when things do not work. Ryan is also our resident entrepreneur. He has his own tech business where he has installed security systems for local residents and created a traffic light system for a local motocross course using Arduino.

Mitch is in Year 11 at Galen Catholic College. Mitch is an allrounder who is always thorough and thoughtful in his ideas and communicating with his team. The way Mitch interacts and engages with everyone highlights his passion to become a teacher in the future.

Rutvik is at Charles Sturt University and went to Galen Catholic College. Rutvik is the team mentor, sharing his skills and knowledge with the group. His personality and the way he conducts himself inspires others to go into programming and robotics. Rutvik hopes to become an aerospace engineer and the KIBO – RPC certainly will excite his passion even more.

Read more about the KIBO RPC here:

A video of Galen VEX speaking about their team and the KIBO RPC can be seen here:

Galen VEX and the KIBO Robot Programming Challenge Training and Support Program2020-07-20T06:59:54+00:00
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