Education: March 2007 Archives

Speech by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin: System Engineering and the Two Cultures of Engineering

"I will be frank. Educators, and I include myself, for I have spent many years as an adjunct professor at various institutions, are far less certain how to teach "generalship" than we are of how to teach the laws of thermodynamics. And yet it is clear that an understanding of the broad issues, the big picture, is so much more influential in determining the ultimate success or failure of an enterprise than is the mastery of any given technical detail. The understanding of the organizational and technical interactions in our systems, emphatically including the human beings who are a part of them, is the present-day frontier of both engineering education and practice."

Chief says NASA, space need funding, Journal and Courier

"Griffin wants NASA to be thought of in the same manner as the Navy, Air Force and other government units. "We don't debate if we will have a Navy," he said. "But every year we always seem to debate if we will have a space program."

NASA Cuts Funding to Purdue, WISH

"I have to make a choice between putting people into space or having the ability to put people into space or supporting them in a better means when they are in space. To do the second prior to the first seems to me to be logically bankrupt," Griffin said. Purdue is experiencing the funding cut first hand. Purdue's NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training in Advanced Life Support will close at the end of this year."

Another School Needs Help

Help These Students See Their Experiment Launched, SpaceRef

"Dear NASA Watch: My name is Carolyn Bushman. I teach at Wendover High School, Utah's only NASA Explorer School. Wendover has 180 7-12 grade students. Last year I had the opportunity of taking students to the Wallops Fight Facility to see their experiment fly on an Orion Rocket. I met Pamela Ghaffarian of Franke Park Elementary, Multiage Classroom and she told me how NASA Watch had helped get her students to Wallops Well this year I'm facing a similar dilemma Due to cut backs the sub-sem is no longer happening, but the NES brought my attention to a new opportunity of having an experiment flown out of New Mexico. My students submitted an experiment and got it accepted."

Reader note: Keith, I work for the Space Shuttle Program at MSFC and would like to donate $500 towards the cost of this trip. I know how much this type of trip would have meant to me during my high school years.

- Anonymous Space Shuttle employee who would like to share the experience ...

Second Young Engineers' Satellite (YES2) Test Programme begins

"The YES2 project involves more than 400 students from across Europe and around the world. The satellite is scheduled to be launched by a Soyuz rocket in September 2007, piggybacking on ESA's Foton-M3 microgravity mission. One of the most important aspects of this innovative mission is the deployment of a 30 km long tether to deploy the Fotino mini-satellite and re-entry capsule. . Not only will this be the longest artificial structure ever deployed in space, but it will also be the first time that a tether has been used to return a payload from space. The flight is intended to demonstrate how such a tether can be used to change a satellite's orbit without attitude control systems or rocket engines."

YES2 Homepage Editor's note: (Be certain to click on the 1 2 3 4 5 at the bottom of the page - there's a lot more to this website)

Editor's note: Today's YouTube Videos: YES2 MDU integration - Day 1 - First day of the integration of the Mass Dummy Unit of the ESA second Young Engineers' Satellite.

NASA is shirking its educational duties, union says, Government Executive

"But Keith Cowing, editor of and a former NASA scientist, said cuts have prevented the agency from fulfilling its innovative outreach goals. "Everybody expects every agency to be hip and with it," but that takes time and money, he said. "The real problem is when they try" to meet these expectations, "Congress cuts their budget." "To their credit, [some officials] are actually getting hip to this," Cowing said. He pointed to NASA's Ames Center, where the agency is sharing computer scientists and office space with Silicon Valley neighbor Google."

NASA Budgets $3m to Develop MMO and More,

"NASA, the U.S. space agency, is getting ready to launch its own exploration into virtual space. NASAs Learning Technologies arm has issued an intramural call for proposal ideas [UPDATE: now postponed, oddly] for the development of a massively multiplayer online game that is intended to be the front-end of a larger synthetic environment."

Weightless Over Florida

Floating Classroom, Central Florida News 13 (with video clip)

"You never got to float around the room in high school. Now the state of Florida plans to fund this so called no gravity classroom every year. "We're putting together a microgravity educational research institute," Space Florida CEO/President Steve Kohler said. The classroom is a modified 727 run by the company Zero G. The pilot climbs steeply and dives to create about 30 seconds of weightlessness."

Exciting New Microgravity Education Effort Announced, earlier Post
Weightless Over Cleveland - Part 1: Floating Teachers, SpaceRef
Weightless Over Cleveland - Part 2: Learning to Fly, SpaceRef


NASA Edge Vodcasts: Embrace Your Inner Astronaut, SpaceRef

"NASA has begun to produce a series of downloadable videos - "Vodcasts" aimed at a younger, hipper audience than is normally the case at NASA. I just had a look at one of these vodcasts (NASA EDGE Show 2). I have to say that it is is well done and surprisingly spontaneous for a NASA program - and I would suspect, it is also a bit more approachable for younger audience than standard NASA TV fare. I hope these guys are able to keep up the quality and the spontaneity and produce more of these vodcasts."

Space Florida and Zero Gravity Corp. Partner to Launch Microgravity Education and Research Center

"Space Florida, the new state agency charged with promoting Florida's space industry, and Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G(R)), announces the creation of the Florida Microgravity Education and Research Center, designed to facilitate Florida teacher and student space education and aerospace microgravity research expertise. The center will be the first-of-its kind by any state in providing the breadth and depth of academic and research capability to perform microgravity research and education programs."

Flying high on scientific fun, New Zealand Herald

"So enthralled was Steve Chrystall with the "Northrop Grumman Weightless Flights of Discovery programme" that he is now urging New Zealand students to apply to go to the United States space camp - the programme's base - this winter. Mr Chrystall said two students could be selected for sponsorship of the camp through the Royal Society of New Zealand, a national academy of science."

Editor's note: If you look at the website for the International Space Settlement Design Competition it says "Eight Finalist teams are selected to compete in a live Competition at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, with real engineers sharing knowledge and experience."

However, this comment online at NASA JSC seems to paint a different picture: "Johnson Space Center is not sponsoring the Annual Space Settlement Design Competition in 2006. Questions about future competitions can be directed to Norman Chaffee at 281-483-3777 or via e-mail at"

So, does JSC support this event or not support it?

Editor's update: I received a note from one of the competition's organizers:

NASA ARC Internal Memo: NASA ARC Selected as Site for International Space University Summer Session in 2009

"Over 100 of the world's brightest students and professionals in aerospace will come to Ames' Research Park for nine weeks to study and work on projects directly relevant to NASA's mission. This endeavor will strengthen NASA's global leadership in space exploration and support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. This will be the first time in ISU's 22-year history that its Summer Session Program is held at a NASA center. Ames can be proud of its leadership in bringing the world's future in space exploration together to chart a revitalized global partnership as NASA leads America's Vision for Space Exploration."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from March 2007.

Education: February 2007 is the previous archive.

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