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Parents owed thousands as NASA study tour firm collapses

A company that organises trips for high school students to visit NASA in Houston has gone into liquidation, leaving scores of families owed thousands.

In an email to customers, Actura Australia said all scheduled international expeditions for 2024 and 2025 had been cancelled, but there were “no financial resources” to provide refunds.

The business claimed to have offices in Australia, New Zealand and Taipei, with trips costing up to $13,000.

Jaimee Scott, a mother from Otago on New Zealand’s South Island, told The New Zealand Herald she paid $9,000 for her 15-year-old son to attend a space school in December and only made a payment four days before finding out.


“He saved every single penny he had to go towards it and went and got a job,” she said. “We live in a rural town so he got a job at a local pub to pay for this. Everyone was involved and really excited.”

Both Actura’s website and Facebook page have now been deactivated, and financial consultancy Westburn Advisory has been appointed to oversee the liquidation.

The company’s main space trip – the CASE Senior Space School – saw students spend two weeks in Houston, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley to gain “incredible access to NASA and innovative technology organisations”.

Chief executive Charles Chung apologised to families affected in an email sent over the weekend.


“It is regret and sadness that I must advise that Actura Australia Pty Ltd has with immediate effect gone into liquidation,” he wrote.

“Actura has exhausted all possible avenues for recovery of its negative cashflow position. Unfortunately, the financial position is unrecoverable.”

However, the NZ Herald also reported that a former Actura employee revealed they only discovered the closure in a company-wide Zoom call on Friday afternoon.

“The company advised us to cease all communication but that didn’t sit right,” they said. “We took it upon ourselves to speak to parents and teachers. The least we can do is to talk to them.”

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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