AUSTIN (KXAN) — Several high school and college freshmen are competing for the unique opportunity to have their work sent to the International Space Station.

“Go-For-Launch!” is a the three-day camp taking place at St. Edward’s University this week for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. Students get to spend time with a former astronaut and other mentors, designing an experiment that will be judged, compete with other “Go for Launch” events around the country and ultimately have their experiment conducted on the International Space Station.

The former NASA astronaut who is participating in “Go For Launch” is Don Thomas. “When I was their age, I could only watch other scientists doing their experiments,” Thomas shares with KXAN. “This is such an amazing opportunity that they get to — with their own hands and their brains — design and put together their own experiment to fly up there.”

Founder and President of Higher Orbits, Michelle Lucas, stresses the importance of such a unique event like “Go For Launch!”

“Sometimes, school just gets hard,” says Lucas. “STEM degrees are not necessarily the easiest thing to do. And being reminded that there are really cool things that come out of studying stem, there are really great job opportunities, there are a lot of neat things that can be done. It’s important that we show them that and not just what happens in a classroom.”

This is the second year St. Edward’s University is hosting a “Go-for-Launch” event, and they are already planning to host their next one during south by southwest, next year.

To find out more about “Go For Launch!”, visit their website.