Ottawa Carleton Educational Space Simulation

Lisgar Collegiate Institute

The Ottawa Carleton Educational Space Simulation (OCESS), informally known as Spacesim, is a student-run non-profit organization and high school club, based out of Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, Ontario. OCESS is dedicated to educating students of all ages about space and science, as well as fostering a love and respect of the “final frontier.”

Each year, Spacesim members take part in a 5 day long mission to a selected destination. During the mission, six members fill the roles of astronauts, spending the entire 5 days living within the Habitat (Spacesim’s model spacecraft). During this time, the astronauts receive guidance and instruction from Mission Control. Simulators bring a heightened level of realism to the mission, by creating situations the astronauts might expect to face were they really in space. These can range from biocontaminants, to solar flares, or micrometeor collisions. Spacesim has existed for over 25 years, and its alumni also frequently take part, helping to supervise the mission, and sharing their experience.

Months of thorough planning and work go into this event. Simulators thoroughly research the chosen destination, and then design, and construct a planetary surface.  Astronauts explore and collect samples from the planetary surface during the mission, and perform experiments to meet mission objectives. Astronauts and Mission Control train for the Mission by running mini-missions in the preceding months, develop a mission timeline, flight paths, and decide upon what types of experiments to perform.

Elementary Education Programs (EEPs) make up much of Spacesim’s educational outreach, whereby members give highly interactive presentations to elementary age children, demonstrating principles of astronomy, Newtonian physics, and space travel.

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