Teachers In Space and NASA to Cooperate on Teacher Development

Teachers In Space and NASA to Cooperate on Teacher Development

September 16, 2010 Press Releases

“We want to make teachers heroes,”

says Teachers in Space Education Director Donald McMahon

The Teachers in Space program (TIS) has been selected by the NASA Education Office to create an innovative professional-development program for high school science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers during the summer of 2011-12. The workshops, conducted under the K-12 Cooperative Agreement Notice, will focus on suborbital science, suborbital flight, space medicine, and human factors. To conduct these workshops, Teachers in Space has assembled a team that includes members from NASA, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Space Education Initiatives, and other organizations, as well as the Space Frontier Foundation, the TIS parent organization.

Teachers in Space's Pathfinder 7 at KSC

“The NASA Education Office recognized our proposal as among the most innovative approaches, with promising outcomes and alignment to NASA.  We have assembled an exceptionally strong, highly experienced team whose accomplishments range from commanding Space Shuttle missions to Emmy-Award winning television productions,” TIS Project Manager Edward Wright said. “Under this cooperative agreement, Teachers in Space will receive approximately $400,000 in funding and work with NASA to take STEM education to a new level. We look forward to a very exciting and productive partnership with NASA over the next two years.”

The new workshops will build on the existing TIS program and will take place in various states including California, Florida, and Texas. The teachers participating will not fly in space, but they will experience some of training being developed by TIS for astronaut teachers. The program will expand their knowledge of space sciences and provide them with new material with which to inspire their students to pursue STEM subjects.

“In one workshop, teachers will learn to fly a suborbital flight simulator with former Shuttle astronaut and XCOR Aerospace chief test pilot Rick Searfoss,” Wright said. “In another, they can build an experiment that will fly aboard a Masten Space Systems or Armadillo Aerospace vehicle. These companies are developing low-cost, fully reusable vehicles that will bring about a revolution in spaceflight and permit people from all walks of life, including teachers, to fly in space.”

TIS is designed to attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession and retain highly qualified teachers by creating exciting new incentives. The goal of TIS is to enable large numbers of teachers to fly in space and return to the classroom. The excitement and first-hand knowledge gained from their spaceflight experiences will then flow down to students, creating a new generation of aerospace scientists and engineers. TIS is working with US companies that are now developing fully reusable suborbital spacecraft for science and commercial applications. The first seven Pathfinder astronaut teacher candidates were announced on July 20, 2009 during the NewSpace 2009 Conference at NASA Ames Research Center.

Teachers in Space Contact:
Steve Heck
Teachers in Space
(513) 607-8152