Superspace Program

  • 2023

  • Service
    Education Services

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Monash Tech School

Designed In:


The Superspace Program engages and inspires junior secondary students to consider STEM careers in the space industry. They undergo a double-diamond process to collaboratively design high-tech spacesuits in response to various fantastical space missions. Students develop STEM skills by integrating bespoke and industry-leading technologies into their learning.

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  • By 2030, the Australian Space Agency has estimated that Australia will require 20,000 skilled workers in space industry-related sectors. Consequently, a need exists across the nation’s education systems to grow and accelerate opportunities for all students to diversify their understanding of STEM pathways. Capturing students’ interests early in secondary schooling before they self-select away from STEM is critical to improving their awareness and engagement with emerging industries nationally and locally. Given this context, the Superspace Program responds to the challenge: How might we connect early secondary students with Australia’s growing space sector at scale?

  • Designed in 2021 and delivered in 2022, the Superspace STEM program is hands-on learning that’s age-appropriate with design thinking at its core. It successfully introduces students to the human desire to explore space, focusing on the global, national and local operations that contribute to the space industry. Students consider the interface between people and space using industry-informed technologies to design and develop bespoke spacesuits. The double-diamond process’s integration into the program enabled MTS educators and technologists to champion its precepts of human-centred design, ideation, and iteration for students’ learning and career development.

  • The Superspace Program inspires students to pursue STEM careers. It encourages students to embody STEM capabilities and inspires teachers to adopt design thinking practices. The program was delivered to 1,785 students across eight schools, with 92% reporting they learned something new, and an additional 35% are now more likely to pursue a career in STEM. The impact is on track to be extended in 2023. School teachers have expressed greater interest in adopting design thinking within their STEM curricula, with 83% reporting the Superspace program helped them to consider ways to incorporate design-based processes in their classrooms.

  • The Superspace Program was designed by those who now deliver it to students. Consequently, there is a parallel embodiment of design practices in STEM between the creation process of Superspace and the resulting program. This duality leads to a richness in delivery as program staff can empathise with students through their first-hand experience with the challenges that come with design thinking. The creation involved the expertise and collaboration of staff versed in chemistry, biology, maths, pedagogy, industrial design, electrical engineering, virtual reality storytelling, information technology, and career pathways. Integration of these specialist streams with high-tech products (such as Mixed-Reality headsets, FTIR and XRF spectrophotometers) guided the in-house design and fabrication of custom products strengthening students’ engagement with the program’s activities. These custom products included: electro-mechanical puzzle boxes, EMG-controlled exoskeleton robotic arms, and a model kit with articulated parts and fabric samples. Students construct the spacesuit of their choice. In parallel, they collaboratively iterate their solutions upon considering: material properties, communication methods, chemical sampling and analysis, physical strength augmentation, oxygen requirements, and how a custom part might enhance their purpose-built spacesuit. This design process simulated industry professionals in the space sector.