27 Jun Science Dept. visit at NASA
On behalf of Dr. Dorina Girbovan, our Head of Science Department, and Manuela Ioia, our Physics teacher:
Two Transylvania College science teachers have earned their wings at NASA, owned thus far by only other 700 people in the world.
Between 8 -15th of June 2016, Miss Dorina Girbovan and Miss Manuela Ioia participated in a 5 days NASA program for Honeywell Educators at Space Academy at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.
All the activities at Space Camp focused on simulators to give participants the feeling of working and living in space. It takes 8 1/2 minutes to reach space, but years to prepare for a real mission. At Space Camp, there were packed years of mission training into 5-Day programs. All the programs integrate the excitement of space exploration with corporate development training to promote leadership and teamwork.
During the training times, educators were challenged to think, solve problems and experience space exploration, in activities such as:
– Engineering Design Challenges, in which educators worked in teams to replicate engineering challenges faced by NASA engineers.
– Thermal Design Challenge, where the educators needed to design a system to protect the astronaut from the extreme heat of reentry into Earth’s atmosphere
– Payload Operations, in which each team has been assigned to safely land and deliver a delicate payload to the surface of the moon.
– Rocket Construction & Launch, whereabouts the educators explored Newton’s Laws of Motion and the core principles of rocketry by constructing and launching their own solid-fueled Estes Eagle rocket. Mathematics concepts were applied as participants calculate the approximate altitude their rocket reaches during flight.
– Mission Patch, in which teams were allowed to learn about the history and symbolism of space-mission patches.
– International & Commercial Spaceflight, where space exploration has described from the international and private commercial companies point of view.
– Living & Working in Space activity, presenting what it is like to live and work in space, including how to eat, exercise, conduct experiments, and go to the bathroom.
Each of them participated in space related challenges, unique for the US Space Camp and designed for the Honeywell Educators: Aviation Challenge Water Survival helo dunker, Aviation Challenge Water Survival helo lift, Ablative Shielding, Bravo Mission, 1/6th Chair, and many more.
Our teachers had to opportunity to meet the HISTORY Space Program, having Ed Buckbee as a speaker, founder of Space Academy, who recounted the early days of NASA in Huntsville, Alabama. From him, they heard stories from behind-the-scenes NASA and Space Academy experiences, and received a copy of his autographed book, “The Real Space Cowboys”. The second meeting with the history was encounter in the presentation of the astronaut Bob Springer, who was responsible for Astronaut Office coordination of the Design Requirements Reviews and Design Certification Reviews. Twice flown, Springer has logged more than 237 hours in space.
As guest speakers, they had the pleasure of meeting Homer H. Hickam Jr., Dr Deborah Barnhart, USSRC CEO and executive director, Kerry Kennedy, Honeywell Hometown Solutions director, keynote speaker Elizabeth Bierman, Principal Systems Engineer at Honeywell Aerospace and many others.
The week ended with a formal graduation ceremony, where educators received “their wings” (only 700 people in the world earned a pair of these) and a diploma certifying the special professional development in which they had the chance to involved.
This was such an amazing professional development experience! Because of Honeywell, we want to start a rocketry program in our school and experience the students with lessons on missions, space history, our Solar System, the shuttle program and many, many more. It the same time, it gave us the desire to continue and learn more about space and share all the information with my students. We are thrilled that we had the opportunity to participate in this program and like Henry Van Dyke said: “We need to be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play and to look up at the stars.”