The idea for an Epic Challenge Program and Epic Education began shortly after the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy when EEF Founder and Astronaut Charles Camarda began working with teams of researchers at NASA and around the country to determine the technical cause of the accident and to develop technology to ensure we could inspect all future Space Shuttles while on orbit and repair them there if necessary. Dr. Camarda was selected as a member of the Return-to-Flight crew of Space Transportation System (STS)-114 following the tragedy.
It was during this time that he realized that even NASA engineers and scientists could lose their creativity creative ability and critical thinking skills needed to not only identify critical problems but to also conceive innovative solutions to such problems. That the ideas he and a small team of researchers developed in a garage/laboratory could not only solve the leading edge repair problem large teams of engineers struggled with but that he would actually fly his team’s ideas on his mission in case the vehicle experienced critical damage.
The experience in that garage/laboratory convinced him that these ideas could be and should be taught to young students. That the joy of using the creative/right-side of our brain coupled with the challenge of solving an almost impossible problem could motivate and inspire students to excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and lead successful careers in these fields!