STARLAB® History

Science First / STARLAB

Morris and Lee

Science First / STARLAB® – is the premiere manufacturer of the STARLAB and Digital STARLAB portable planetariums. Science First / STARLAB came into existence in July of 2008 as Science First of Yulee FL purchased Learning Technologies and the STARLAB product line. Along with portable-inflatable planetaria, Science First / STARLAB manufactures and sells a wide range of astronomy and physics education equipment. Our expertise stretches back much farther than 2008. Since 1905, the Trippensee® family, whose product line we acquired, manufactured astronomy models and water sampling equipment. Since 1960 Science First®, manufactured products to teach the natural sciences in schools. A network of business partners both here and abroad round out our product offerings. Family owned since our founding, we think long term. We want your business over the long haul and will do our best to earn your loyalty.


The STARLAB Story…

STARLAB is the first truly portable planetarium invented back in 1977 by Philip Sadler and his class of middle school students in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Today STARLAB is the most widely used planetarium in the world. It continues to provide a universe of opportunity to many people who previously did not have access. STARLAB is the product of the efforts of many different people: students, educators, family members, and friends. Many have seen the promise of portable planetaria, and these teachers, museum educators, university professors, and school administrators have helped to guide and influence the development of STARLAB, its supporting materials and the unique ways it has come to be used in schools and museums around the world. The first curricula developed exclusively for the STARLAB in 1979 were the product of a grant from the Nebraska Department of Education that were aimed at helping teachers utilize the STARLABs supplied by Nebraska’s Educational Service Units. These guides were found to be so effective that they became part of the materials sent with every STARLAB. As classroom teachers and curriculum developers began to adapt the STARLAB to their own particular needs, Learning Technologies maintained a policy to distribute these lessons free of cost to interested teachers. STARLAB has become a part of many peoples’ lives. Along the way, it has been adopted by many different groups:

  • intermediate units, large organizations that serve many schools,
  • school systems to use throughout their districts,
  • science museums for outreach activities,
  • individual schools, both public and private,
  • camps and scouting groups,
  • and individuals, often bringing astronomy to rural schools for the first time.

We welcome you to contact us with any questions regarding our company or products. We are happy to help with any areas including technical support, funding assistance, and customer service inquiries!