Spaceflight Operations Workshop

The 2021 Spaceflight Operations Workshop will be held August 3-15.

The application period for the 2021 workshop has closed.

The Spaceflight Operations Workshop takes place each August and is open to various undergraduate students at Iowa State and other institutions and to educators.


Creating Operational Thinkers

Clayton Anderson

Operational thinking and user-centered design are important for human space exploration. To be a successful astronaut, or even an engineer here on earth, you need to think differently. Retired NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson, along with Iowa State University, has created the week-long Spaceflight Operations Workshop, which will challenge the way students think. Departing from the typical classroom college experience, students will participate in hands-on activities to learn planning, execution, and teamwork.

Read what former workshop participant Sarah Niles, who now works as a design engineer for Spirit AeroSystems, has to say:


Get a video overview of what the Spaceflight Operations Workshop is like:

Spaceflight Operations Collage_R

About The Workshop

Students are put through exercises similar to those used in actual Astronaut training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston:

  • SCUBA diving – Working in a hazardous environment
  • Wilderness survival training – Expeditionary behavior, teamwork, and mission planning
  • Flight Simulation – Cockpit resource management
  • Skydiving – Moving in reduced gravity
  • Virtual Reality – Emergency training

Participants will also take part in classroom activities covering topics such as:

  • Leadership and Team Development
  • Operations Development
  • Pilot Performance
  • Spacecraft Control Panel Design
  • Payload and Science Operations

Spaceflight Operations Workshop Photos


Aerospace Engineering Hours

Howe Hall building open hours

Aerospace Engineering main office

Access is by appointment only. Call (515) 294-5666 or email

Advising Offices: The Aerospace Engineering advising offices are closed. Students should contact their advisers by email or click the “Schedule an Advising Appointment” button below.

Howe Hall emergency contact: Jim Benson, Building Supervisor, 515-294-4946