Exploring the Solar System: Design, Build, Test activity (2020)

  • Design, Build, Test image
  • Design, Build, Test image
  • Design, Build, Test image
  • Design, Build, Test image
  • Design, Build, Test image
NISE Network product

In "Exploring the Solar System: Design, Build, Test," participants will imagine a scientific mission to space, draw inspiration from existing spacecraft, and then design and build their own simple model spacecraft to accomplish the goals of their mission. After assembling a spacecraft and attaching tools, participants' creations will have to complete a series of tests to ensure that they're ready for launch. Did they include the necessary tools? Can the spacecraft withstand the vibration of launch, or the spin of navigating through space? If not, it's back to the drawing board—the design/build/test cycle begins again!



Big Idea

Engineering a spacecraft is part of a cycle of designing, building, and testing. A spacecraft will only be ready for its mission once its design and construction can pass a series of tests.

Learning Goals

Scientists use spacecraft to explore Earth and space. 

Missions to space require large teams to design, build, and test spacecraft. 

Preparing to launch a spacecraft into space takes a lot of time. 



This material is based on work supported by NASA under cooperative agreement award numbers NNX16AC67A and 80NSSC18M0061. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Owning institution

Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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