Space Foundation and The Petit Family Foundation Expand Space in the Community Program to Additional Connecticut School Districts

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Space Foundation and The Petit Family Foundation Expand Space in the Community Program to Additional Connecticut School Districts

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Feb. 22, 2024 — Space Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem, today announced that it is partnering with the Petit Family Foundation to launch a Space in the Community (SITC) program in five Connecticut school districts.

SITC unites communities to inspire PreK-12 students through engaging science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) activities, empower teachers with professional development opportunities, and elevate communities through special events.

Space Foundation educators will visit Connecticut school districts to introduce students and teachers to a wide variety of on-site and virtual space education programs. A teacher professional development workshop is also scheduled to equip educators with the necessary tools and knowledge to integrate space education into their curriculum and prepare students for the April 2024 total solar eclipse.

“We are thrilled to continue partnering with the Petit Family Foundation to expand our Space in the Community program to the incredible students, educators and communities of Connecticut,” said Melissa Patton, Space Foundation vice president of education. “Through this program, we aim to cultivate lifelong STEAM learners, nurture local talent, and bolster economic development.”

The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The foundation’s funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence.

“The Petit Family Foundation is again very excited that we are partnering with Space Foundation to educate and excite elementary and middle school students throughout Connecticut. We hope that this interaction will stimulate interest in space and, specifically, sciences, technology, and mathematics,” said Dr. William A. Petit Jr., president of the Petit Family Foundation.

As part of the SITC program, there will be a community night on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, from 6-8 p.m. EST, at Smalley Elementary School located at 175 West St., New Britain, Connecticut. Community members will explore hands-on STEAM activities and meet former NASA astronaut Duane “Digger” Carey. Activities include space drones, robotics color coding, solar system bookmarks, rovers on Mars, and more. The event is free and open to the public. School visits will be made in select school districts on the dates below.

Participating Connecticut School Districts

  • Canton School District
    • 26 – Canton Intermediate School, 39 Dyer Ave., Canton
  • South Windsor School District
    • 27 – Timothy Edwards Middle School, 100 Arnold Way, South Windsor
  •  Enfield School District
    • 28 – Eli Whitney Elementary, 94 Middle Rd., Enfield
  • Simsbury School District
    • 29 – Henry James Memorial School, 155 Firetown Rd., Simsbury
  • Consolidated School District of New Britain
    • 29 – Smalley Elementary School, 175 West St., New Britain
    • March 1 – Jefferson Elementary School, 140 Horse Plain Rd., New Britain

For more information on the Space in the Community program and to get involved, visit

About Space in the Community

Space in the Community is an initiative of Space Foundation’s Center for Innovation and Education to help regional communities encourage students to become lifelong learners and pursue studies in the global space ecosystem, and in turn build a local workforce to strengthen economic development. Through partnerships, Space Foundation hosts events that inspire students, families, teachers and caregivers with role models from space exploration and space-to-Earth industries as well as hands-on activities. To learn more about Space in the Community, visit

About Center for Innovation and Education    

Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning provider for the global space ecosystem, offering workforce development and economic opportunity via Space Commerce Institute and Space Foundation Discovery Center. Serving pre-K-12 and university students, teachers, entrepreneurs, businesses and professionals, programs and resources are delivered in person or online around the globe. Through its Workforce Development Roadmap of programs and resources, Center for Innovation and Education enhances the outlook and opportunities for careers, jobs and business ventures. To learn more about Center for Innovation and Education, visit, and Space Foundation Discovery Center, visit

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem. Driven by partnerships, Space Foundation unites the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate members, sponsors, fundraising and grants. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow us on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.


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Tags: Space Foundation, Center for Innovation and Education, The Petit Family Foundation, Space in the Community, STEAM, STEM education, Duane Digger Carey, Connecticut school districts, space exploration, space industry, space ecosystem, lifelong learning, economic development, space-to-Earth industries

Media Contacts:

Rich Cooper
Vice President, Strategic Communications & Outreach
Space Foundation
(202) 596-0714
[email protected]

Dottie O’Rourke
TECHMarket Communications
(650) 344-1260
[email protected]

Kate Sirignano Terricciano
Petit Family Foundation
(860) 919-1020
[email protected]