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Educational space center to launch by 2023 in Reston

The space center is expected to open by 2023 (courtesy Interstellar Dreams)

In the near-future, Reston will have an educational space center to call its own.

Interstellar Dreams, a project through The Pearl Project Institute for Innovation in STEM literacy, is actively scouting for a 40,000-square-foot space center in Reston. The center, which is expected to open by next year, will include training and simulations in real-world and virtual learning environments.

The Reston center will be preceded by “a smaller prototype” set to open Sept. 10 at George Mason University’s College of Science Research Hall in Fairfax, according to a press release.

“We are looking for stars to get us to the stars,” said Robin McDougal, founder and CEO of Interstellar Dreams, a nonprofit focused on nurturing future STEM professionals. “Building a Space Center is a needed tool to help inspire, educate, and train emerging and current workers–that are reflective of our whole population — to ensure we are ready to explore the universe. We plan to start here in Northern Virginia where this industry is booming.”

The company is raising $5 million to build a mission command, space station and planetary habitat. These features will have floor to ceiling LED screens and equipments. Visitors can come for an hour or a day to be in the environment, and mission commanders will lead groups in exercised and simulations.

The project will primarily be funded by donations, sponsorships and memberships.

McDougal is a former Fairfax County Public Schools advanced academic educator and describes herself as a STEM literary advocate.

The announcement was made yesterday (Monday) in the backdrop of NASA’s moon launch of Artemis I. The launch was delayed that day.