Page Background
20-year History of Endeavour

20-year History of Endeavour





1989: Begin plans to reestablish a program that would allow students the opportunity to flying student experiments on Space Shuttle in a NASA "Get Away Special". The program was originally initiated by the AIAA at Vandenberg AFB prior to the Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion in 1986.

Early 1990: Marketing begins to allow California Central Coast students (K-12 and college) an opportunity to fly experiments in Space. Approximately fifty students (13 student experiments) were selected from over 500 proposals to fly their scientific ideas in Space. Allan Hancock College partnered with organizers through use of their foundation’s tax exempt status to receive parts to build the GAS Canister.

Sept. 1991: Edmund Burke, Co-Chair of Lompoc IEC Education Committee. Edmund Burke presents proposal on implementing Space Education programs which included the idea to start a Space Education Center, a Space Science and Technology programs at Allan Hancock College and at high schools in Lompoc with articulation between the two.

May 1992: Edmund Burke and Marty Waldman, have significant discussions with Allan Hancock in regards to starting a 2 year Space Science and Technology program at their college. A 50-page proposal was submitted. A briefing and proposal was provided to the President, Dr. Frances Conn and Executive Dean, Mr. Simms. This proposal ideas later became the cornerstone vision that assisted Allan Hancock College to receive 18 million dollars from the State of California.

April 1993: Endeavour, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation (founded by Edmund Burke, Marty Waldman, Will Gordon and Denise Burke) was formed to implement STEM and Space Education programs for the California Central Coast. Allan Hancock agrees to transfer all assets donated to their foundation to our newly formed non-profit corporation.

21 June 1993: Successfully launch thirteen student experiments (40 students participated) from the California Central Coast on Space Shuttle Endeavour, 21 June 1993. Over 50 newspaper articles and two hours of TV press coverage about the program from 1990 to 1993. Set two NASA records: the youngest students ever to build active experiments on the Space Shuttle and the most number of active experiments ever flown in a GAS Canister. The revolutionary payload design and subsequent 150 page unsolicted proposal submitted started a national student program called Space Experiment Modules (SEM) which is operated from Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland.

Oct. 1993: Endeavour non-profit approached Lompoc Unified School District for space to implement our mission and vision. Dr. Williams, LUSD, superintendent, recognized and appreciate our goodwill efforts to educate and inspire youth and support teachers. Dr. Williams provided one room at Maple H.S. to establish the Endeavour Center, and our Space Education vision for the community.

March 1994: Endeavour non-profit wrote a proposal to NASA Headquarters to establish a NASA Teacher Resource Center for the California Central Coast. Endeavour non-profit past success with our NASA "Get Away Special Program", Vandenberg AFB location, and our strong mission and vision for extensive Space Education outreach for our community convinced NASA to select us. Endeavour non-profit believed that if we could disseminate "hands-on" curriculum and activities to teachers, then many more youth could become educated and inspired.

Dec. 1994: Endeavour non-profit officially opened the Endeavour Center, NASA Teacher Resource Center for the California Central Coast. LUSD, NASA and Endeavour non-profit sign formal agreements to establish the Endeavour Center, NASA Teacher Resource Center. LUSD provides an additional room at Maple H.S. for the NASA Teacher Resource Center. Endeavour non-profit receives grants and in-kind contributions ($50,000) to setup the NASA Teacher Resource Center with volunteer labor.

Jan. 1995: Endeavor non-profit decided to establish a summer Endeavour Camp program for youth (8-11 and 12-15 years old age groups). The first Endeavour Camp program was operated in the summer of 1995 with a day camp only (125 youth attended). Subsequent camps in 1996 thru 1999 had day and sleepover camp options. The number of youth attending the Endeavour Camp are as follows: 1995-125, 1996-240, 1997-250, 1998- 300, 1999-235. The Endeavour Camp has been enthusiastically supported by over 3000 families (in our databases) from the California Central Coast and abroad.

Jan. 1995: Joe Boeckx, Lucia Mar School District, approaches Endeavour non-profit to establish a Space Academy program at Arroyo Grande H.S. Lucia Mar School District hires Endeavour non-profit to establish the program. Endeavour non-profit hires Dr. Ed Avila and begins the program for the 1995/1996 school year. The program was officially named the Endeavour Academy after several years operating within the public school environment, and became established as an aerospace thematic engineer and scientist prep school. The enrollment has continued to expand each year and has been very successful: 1995/96 school year enrollment-40 students, 1996/97- 75 students, 1997/98-100, 1998/99- 115, 1999/2000- 125 students which is full capacity. Dr. Ed Avila is working replication of the program to many other high schools on the California Central Coast.

March 1995: Endeavour non-profit helps reestablish the Cal-Poly Space Systems Club. Over Cal-Poly students enthusiastically embrace Space Science and Technology and begin many space projects. Because of this interest and future career opportunities available to the students, Cal-Poly Aeronautics Department officially changes it’s name to the Aerospace Department in 1998. Dr. Ed Avila, the Endeavour Academy director, teaches the Aeronautics department’s first courses in Spacecraft Design from 1996 to 1998 in the evening.

Sept. 1995: Greg Schumaker, 1995 Endeavour Camp, Director and Vandenberg Middle School Science Teacher establishes the "Space is the Place" class at Vandenberg Middle School for the 1995/96 school year.

Jan. 1996:  EndeavourCenter established the space education school field trip program to the Endeavour Center and Vandenberg AFB. Each year since it’s inception over 25 California Central Coast schools (40-60 students per trip) each year have participated in the program.

Sept. 1996: Endeavour Center establishes a Space Exhibit in the Lompoc High School library and one of the rooms is called "Space is the Place" with a Mural. The Lompoc H.S. librarian is enthusiastically supportive, and continues to improve the exhibit on her own, purchase space books and provide Internet access to space websites. A Lompoc H.S. student rocketry club is established and the meeting room was in the library. Lompoc principal wants to start a Space Academy at the high school.

July 1996&97: Endeavour Center sponsors the Spaceweek program (1996 and 1997) and expands it to include many community Space Education outreach programs. The Western Spaceport Museum and Science Center (disbanded) no longer had the manpower to continue after 13 years of sponsorship (1982-1995). Endeavour non-profit decides not to sponsors the program after 1997 due to financial loss reasons.

Aug. 1996:  EndeavourCenterestablishes a Saturday Youth Space Education Seminars (applied math, science and technology) at the Endeavour Center and Endeavour Academy. The program has offered over twenty different seminars (Astronomy, Electronics, Geology, Rocketry, Satellites, etc.).

Jan. 1998: Western Spaceport Museum and Science Center (disbanded) agrees to transfer their $60,000 Research Telescope to the Endeavour Center. Endeavour non-profit receives a $10,000 grant from the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and installs the telescope with a solar power system. The Vandenberg Astronomical Society (VAAS) establishes their base of operations out of the Endeavour Center. Lompoc High School ROP students assist with concrete work and walkway for the telescope.

May 1998: Telescope ribbon cutting ceremony at the Endeavour Center.

March 1999: Cal-Poly officially starts a Masters Degree program in Aerospace Engineering at Vandenberg AFB. Endeavour non-profit is partnering with Cal-Poly to establish an R&D laboratory for master’s degree thesis work and special projects. First classes start the summer of 1999, GPS and Orbital Mechanics II classes at VAFB.

April 1999: Endeavour non-profit hires an Endeavour Center, Director, Ms. Susie Reilly, to manage the year-around Space Education programs at the Endeavour Center.

Dec. 1999: Dr. Edward Avila, Endeavour Institute, Director receives National Hispanic Teacher of the Year Award. Meets with U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, CA Secretary of Education Gary Hart.

Dec. 1999: Dr. Edward Avila, Endeavour Institute, Director receives agreement to replicate the Endeavour Academy Program at Paso Robles H.S. CSTA supported.

Sept. 2000: Endeavour Academy at Paso Robles High School (first replication of program) opened and students enroll in courses.

March 2001: Endeavour non-profit receives a second CSA grant to develop a Vehicle Based Independent Tracking System (VBITS) R&D project for high dynamic vehicles (rockets, RLVs, ULVs, Airplanes, etc.)

April 2001: Buzz Aldrin visits Endeavour Academies at Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles High Schools and the Space Endeavour Center.

April 2001: Endeavour non-profit receives Governor Gray Davis recognition letter and resolution by Jack O'Connell and Abel Maldonado for education and R&D work accomplishing.

Sept. 2001:  Endeavour Academy at the California Academy of Math and Science, Domingues Hills, LA opens and students enroll in courses.

April 2002:  Endeavour Center expands Space Education programs and hires education and operations manager full-time to operate the Center.

March 2003:  Endeavour non-profit signs a masters agreement with Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo foundation to allow joint Space Research & Development projects between Cal-Poly professors and students and SIL professional engineers.

May 2003:  Senator Pete Knight (CA Senator and X-15 rocket plane pioneer) visits the Endeavour Center open house prior to his passing on 7 May 2004.  Endeavour Center & Air Force Association (Goddard Chapter) event at Vandenberg AFB to honor his aerospace legacy.

August 2003:  NASA KSC contracts with Endeavour Center to do K-12 Educator Launch Conferences revolving around NASA/NOAA mission launched from Vandenberg AFB.  K-12 teachers and NASA/DOD mission scientists and engineers are given opportunity to share knowledge and experiences together to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

September 2003:  Endeavour Center establishes science enrichment after school program for elementary and middle school.  Lucia Mar School District signs MOU with Endeavour to teacher Bright Futures science enrichment classes.

June 2004:  SIL/Endeavour Center and Allan Hancock College partner and win a three year NASA grant ($300K) to establish a summer Mechatronics Institute for high school students and K-12 Space Education outreach to students and teachers.  Endeavour Academy instructors teach summer Mechatronics Institute classes.

January 2005:  SIL/Endeavour Center signs MOU agreement to become a Globe International United States partner to jointly work together in regards to Earth & Environmental Science Education.

June 2005:  Lucia Mar School District cancels Endeavour Academy at Arroyo Grande High School.  There was overwhelming community support by parents, students, industry and local colleges/universities to retain the Endeavour Academy.  Lucia Mar budget condition, unsupportive new superintendent and teacher union grievance about contracting out to Endeavour non-profit for class instructor canceled the program after ten successful years of operation with over 100 students signed up for 2005-2006 school year. 

September 2005:  SIL/Endeavour Center and California Space Authority sign MOU agreement as strategic partner in establishing the California Space Center space education element.

January 2006:  SIL/Endeavour Center included in California Space Authority, U.S. Department of Labor WIRED grant as a partner to do K-12 Science Innovation Educator Conferences through 2008.

August 2006:  Endeavour Academy established at Templeton Middle and High School.  Jill Southern is the first ever Endeavour Academy female instructor and first time establishing Endeavour Academy classes (UC approved, Lab Science D) at middle and high school level in a district.

September 2006:  Endeavour non-profit signs a MOU agreement with University of California-Santa Barbara Physics Department to work together on K-12 Solar and Alternate energy education outreach, and University Research and Development projects.

October 2006:  2007 Congressional DOD Line item approved for Endeavour non-profit to establish a college/university sounding rocket program in partnership with University of California – San Bernardino Foundation.

January 2007:  CSA US Department of Labor WIRED grant funds development of a new Endeavour Academy course Mission to Planet Earth Systems course over one year.  Andrew Williams, Endeavour Academy instructor leads this effort.

December 2007:   The Endeavour Center, NASA Educator Resource Center organize the Calipso-CloudSat and AIM K-12 Educator Launch Conferences (250 plus California teachers attend) revolving around NASA Earth Science and Global Climate Change missions launched from Vandenberg AFB.

January 2008:   Edmund Burke works with Lompoc Unified School District (USD) and the base to establish a save Los Padres school from closure and moved the Endeavour Center in summer 2008 to this school along with Manzanita Public Charter School that was provided a home at the site for start-up by Lompoc USD.  Maple High School, Vandenberg AFB where Endeavour Center located officially closed summer 2008.

June - August 2008:   Endeavour Academy started at Orcutt Academy – a new charter high school operated by the Orcutt Unified School District.  One hundred twenty students enroll for first year and nine-five take the Endeavour Academy mission to Planet Earth Systems course.

June - August 2008:  Endeavour Academy started at West High School, Torrance USD with a start-up grant by the American Honda Foundation of $150,000.  One hundred twenty five students enroll in the three year-long Endeavour Academy STEM courses, UC approved in first year.

December 2008:  Steve Kliewer, Paso Endeavour Academy, Instructor selected as the Paso Robles Unified School District teacher of the year for 2008.


January-February 2009:  Endeavour Center, NASA Educator Resource Center organize NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory and NOAA-NP K-12 Educator Launch Conferences with over 150 K-12 teachers attending from California and abroad.

March 2010:  Steve Kliewer, hired as full-time Endeavour, Executive Director with grant funding by Wood Claeyssens Foundation.

May 2010:  West High Endeavour Academy students enter into Solar Cub (solar powered boats) with boat built in the West High Endeavour Lab room, and finish 2nd in Sprint Competition.

May 2010:  Templeton Endeavour Academy students enter into the Team America Rocketry Challenge in Virginia and place 29th out of 659 teams in the nation.

June 2010 –Eight Annual Balloon Fest held for 100 plus students from Orcutt Academy and Paso Robles High School with tethered balloon science experiments and data collection (1000 Ft.).  University of California – Santa Cruz Particle Physics and Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo participate with University professors and college students as mentors.

Dec 2010 –Move the Endeavour Center and the NASA Educator Resource Center to fresh and spacious accommodations on the Vandenberg Middle School campus.  This location is much more visible and accessible, being located adjacent to and just outside of the Vandenberg base main gate.