Allegany, NY — The Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center recently received a $7,000 grant from the F.T. and Anna C. Manley Memorial Fund.

The money will provide for the purchase of the new Micronauts Mini Discovery Mission program and equipment as well as staff training.

The simulated Micronauts Mini Discovery Mission, which meets math and science standards for students in kindergarten through fourth grade, takes place aboard the International Space Station where young scientists, engineers and mathematicians are engaged in a variety of hands-on experiments as they travel 230 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Beginning with team building and group-oriented problem solving activities, the Micronauts program explores scientific concepts like mass, weight, planetary movement and microorganisms, teaching teamwork and leadership skills, while encouraging students to explore science topics through inquiry.

“We are very grateful to the F.T. and Anna C. Manley Memorial Fund for providing the funding to allow young students from our community to attend these exciting new Micronauts Mini Discovery Missions,” said Challenger Learning Center Executive Director Fred Welch. “Because of their generosity, we are able to introduce students to hands-on science using the technology of the center’s simulator, while engineering a collaborative solution, using math throughout — and STEM education — in an environment that will not only educate them, but also inspire them.”

Challenger Learning Center Chairman Stu Smith added, “I am excited to have the Micronauts program added to our center’s capabilities so we’ll be able to reach out and influence grade school students for the first time. The chance to expose young students to ideas in astronomy, geology, math and teamwork is terrific.”

Schools interested in applying for these funds should contact Fred Welch either by email ( or by calling the center at (716) 379-8686 for more information.

About the Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center

The Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center, a not-for-profit organization, is a space-themed educational facility with programs designed to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM education) through a series of hands-on experiences and simulations that are tied to classroom learning and team building.

The Center offers three simulated space missions: Voyage to Mars, Rendezvous with Comet Halley and Micronauts Mini Discovery Missions; a team-building activity, the Great Rocket Design Challenge; and STEM programs Simple Machines and Engine Works.

Since opening in June 2009, almost 10,000 students from 17 counties in New York and Pennsylvania have participated in these educational programs. Visit the Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center online at