User login

Exploring the Universe: Pack a Space Telescope

Source Institutions

    NISE Network

Add to listGo to activity
Exploring the Universe: Pack a Space Telescope

Space telescopes can offer us better, clearer views of the universe (and of our own planet) than Earth-based telescopes can, but getting these large, delicate pieces of equipment into orbit is tricky. In "Exploring the Universe: Pack a Space Telescope," participants get a taste of the challenges faced by engineers in designing and building complicated tools that can fold up to fit inside a spacecraft, and then unfold again when they deploy in orbit. Participants will design, build, pack, and deploy their own model space telescopes in this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Ariane 5 Rocket “testing site” (PVC pipe stand)
  • Honeycomb-shaped golden mirror cards (100)
  • Sunshield cards (100)
  • String
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • James Webb Space Telescope poster
  • Colored construction paper and markers (optional)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Light and Optics
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Earth, Moon and Sun
    • Solar System
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    • Technology
      • Information and Communication
  • Physical Sciences
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Sunlight and Color


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • National Informal STEM Education Network

Source Collection:

  • NISE Network


Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX16AC67A


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists: