Beads in space

Beads of Courage has some amazing connections to outer space! Here are some of the highlights:


Did you know Beads of Courage has been to space twice? On May 14, 2010, we made bead history when we launched artist-made glass beads into space as part of the payload on the NASA Atlantis Space Shuttle Mission STS-132. One year later, beads were again sent to low-Earth orbit aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour Mission STS-134.

The Beads in Space project came to fruition through bead dad Jamie Newton, a NASA contractor, whose daughter Sydney received beads during her treatment for childhood cancer. You can read more about Beads in Space on the NASA website.

The beads that went into space were chosen from a nationwide contest challenging lampwork glass bead artists to design space-themed beads for the missions. The beads from the first mission were featured on a colorful poster given to children in hospitals across the country.

Once the beads returned the Earth, they became part of the Beads in Space Tour, which traveled the US for two years visiting children’s hospitals and museums. The highlight of the tour was an exhibit showcasing the handcrafted space beads which flew 4.8 million miles at over 17,500 miles per hour aboard Atlantis and Endeavour. Following the tour, the exhibit landed at Challenger Space Center in Arizona for a two-year stay.


We initially created the pewter Beads of Courage Space Shuttle bead as part of the Beads in Space tour to remind children coping with a serious illness that their imagination can take them anywhere!

Right now, YOU can provide 20 Space Shuttle beads for children in the hospital and get one to keep for yourself with our Space Shuttle Art Card kit!

Each kit contains 20 space-themed art cards for you to decorate and return to Beads of Courage in a postage-paid return envelope, and a pewter Space Shuttle Bead on a Courage Clip for you to keep with our thanks. We will package your decorated Art Cards with Space Shuttle beads and give them to children receiving Beads of Courage during their treatment for a serious illness.

As a special bonus during Space Camp Week, everyone who orders a Space Shuttle Art Card Kit will be entered into a drawing to win a free, one-of-a-kind glass space bead! Thirty winners will be chosen!


Did you know our 2020 Bead of the Month Series features exclusive space-themed beads commissioned by Beads of Courage just for you? We’re celebrating the launch of a new decade with beads designed to remind you to dream big and reach for the stars. If you’ve missed any of the Bead of the Month beads, check them out here!


We are honored to have a number of space luminaries who have participated in our Carry a Bead Program as a way to honor and encourage Beads of Courage members worldwide. The list includes legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin – second man to walk on the Moon, and Geoffrey Notkin, star of TV’s “Meteorite Men” and president of the National Space Society.

We invite you to Carry a Bead like these two amazing celebrities did! Our Be a Helper Bundle currently offers two Carry a Bead kits for the price of one! Carry a Bead in your neighborhood and we will add your city and state to our online Helpers Map. The beads you carry and return will be given to children on their tough treatment days to encourage them to keep fighting … and remind them to always look for the helpers.