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Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation facts for kids

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The Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation (DASEF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting aerospace education in the State of Delaware. DASEF educates students of all ages in the areas of math, science, technology, and aerospace through the use of academies, presentations, symposia, professional development, and the Innovation Technology Exploration Center (ITEC).


DASEF was founded in 1989 by its President and CEO Dr. Stephanie M.G. Wright. DASEF first began with Destination Orbit, and quickly expanded to its current 8 academies. Originally, Destinations Orbit, Moon, and Mars were named as Level I, II, and III respectively. In addition, Destinations Sky & Beyond and Space were half day academies.


The DASEF mission is

To inspire and educate the people of the Delaware Valley in learning about the Earth's environment, space science, mathematics and technology through the use of academies, presentations, symposia, professional development, events and activities and the resources of the Innovation Technology Exploration Center (ITEC).

DASEF's programs are supported by many partners that include Delaware's institutions of higher learning, Delaware Space Grant Consortium, Delaware Air National Guard, Dover Air Force Base, Department of Transportation, Delaware Parks and Recreation, corporate sponsors, and the Civil Air Patrol.

Innovation Technology Exploration Center

The 40-acre (160,000 m2) ITEC site in northern Kent County is located in Smyrna, Delaware, shared with Big Oak County Park. Construction began in 2003 in four phases. The Environmental Outpost was completed first. It hosts Mountjoy observatory, the second-largest telescope in the State of Delaware. Currently, the rest of ITEC is still under construction. The building is LEED certified through its implementation of solar panels and other energy efficient technologies. ITEC hosts the bi-annual Family Day for the public to enjoy.


DASEF hosts programs open to the public for the Delaware valley citizens. Most notably, the Delaware Aerospace Academy, Launching a Dream, and Rockets for Delaware programs instruct the general public with a great appreciation of aeronautics.

Delaware Aerospace Academy

The Delaware Aerospace Academy (DAA) is a week-long academy for students entering 1st through 10th grade. The academy comprises eight full-day and overnight programs, called "Destinations," held at the Environmental Outpost or the University of Delaware. Programs are staggered from late-June to mid-July. Destinations Ocean and Dinosaur, the newest programs, are day camps held at the Environmental Outpost in [Smyrma, Delaware]. Destinations Sky & Beyond, Space, Flight and Orbit are day camps held in June at the University of Delaware. Destinations Moon and Mars, overnight camps at the University of Delaware, present older cadets with additional challenges regarding aerospace topics. Similar to those in the military, all students are called "cadets." Each academy is structured with four wings, composed of 10 cadets per wing.

Common activities include trips to Dover Air Force Base and launching model rockets.

Destination Grade Type
Destination Ocean Entering 1st or 2nd grade Full Day Academy
Destination Dinosaur Entering 2nd or 3rd grade Full Day Academy
Destination Sky and Beyond Entering 3rd or 4th grade Full Day Academy
Destination Space Entering 4th or 5th grade Full Day Academy
Destination Flight Entering 5th or 6th grade Full Day Academy
Destination Orbit Entering 6th to 8th grade Full Day Academy
Destination Moon Entering 7th to 9th grade Overnight Academy
Destination Mars Entering 8th to 10th grade Overnight Academy

Launching a Dream

Launching a Dream is an annual program for elementary school students to learn about space. Most notably, this program features a converted school bus into a mock Space Shuttle orbiter vehicle. The vehicle has realistic tail and wings that extend for student simulation and retract for transportation on public highways.

Rockets for Delaware

Rockets for Delaware is an annual May model rocket launch at Cape Henlopen State Park. Rockets range from water rockets to model rockets to high-power rocketry.

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