Superintendent's Memo #063-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

February 25, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Russian International Space Olympics for Students

The Virginia Department of Education and the Education Department of Korolev, Russia, announce the 2011 Russian International Space Olympics.  A Virginia team has participated in this competition since 1999.  Support for the 2011 program is made available by the Verizon Foundation.  The Space Olympics provide an opportunity for as many as ten Virginia public school students who will be juniors or seniors during the 2011-2012 school year to participate in the International Space Olympics in the Moscow Region and its suburb of Korolev during October 2011.

Students will compete in the Space Olympics through oral presentations of their research projects and by participating in selected tests in physics, mathematics, computer science, and literature.  Highlights of the visit will include the opportunity to talk to scientists and cosmonauts and to interact with students from Russia and other countries.  Students will also participate in a variety of cultural activities.

Students who are selected to participate will receive a travel scholarship for $2,800.  This scholarship covers all major costs of participating in the Space Olympics, including air transportation to Russia, travel insurance, meals, and housing during the International Space Olympics competition.  All interested students are encouraged to apply for the International Space Olympics.  Students should anticipate some additional expenses such as attendance at two mandatory, pre-trip orientation sessions, passport costs, ground transportation to the airport from their homes, and discretionary spending money.

The International Space Olympics is approximately a two-week trip to the Moscow region of Russia.  Participants are tentatively scheduled to leave the United States on October 18, 2011, and return on October 30, 2011.

Applicants must obtain permission to participate in this program from their parents or guardians and school divisions.  Selected students and a parent or guardian must agree to attend two one-day training seminars in Richmond before the departure date.  The seminars will provide orientation and background materials for the trip.

The opportunity to participate will be competitive, based on a student’s research project, grades/courses taken, and answers to questions in the application package.  The student-produced research project should be on the topic of space exploration.  For information from past competitions, the following links will provide additional information: or

The International Space Olympics application form is attached to this memorandum.  Upon acceptance into the program, the participating student and parents may be required to complete additional authorization forms.  An announcement of the International Space Olympics and application form will also be sent to mathematics and science contact persons before the end of February.  All applications must be postmarked by May 13, 2011.

If you have questions regarding this program, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Beverly M. Thurston, history and social science coordinator, Office of Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction, by e-mail at or by telephone at (804) 225-2893.



  1. Virginia Department of Education Participation in the International Space Olympics Application Packet (Word)