Side Creek Elementary School students searched for "missing" astronauts as part of a virtual space mission. The students were divided into three teams: navigation (tracking the spacecraft), transmission (decoding and interpreting messages) and cargo (determining personnel and support needs). The students virtually connected to mission control to help find the missing astronauts in space.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is supporting this tremendous opportunity for hundreds of APS students, through a $25,000 grant to the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado. The grant supports the Center's delivery of Earth-science and space-focused distance-learning programs to schools serving an ethnically diverse population, including military families living near Buckley Air Force Base.
"It's extremely gratifying to have a top-tier company like United Launch Alliance step up and take such an active, positive role in building the next-generation aerospace and defense workforce," said Tracey Tomme, President/CEO of the Challenger Learning Center of Colorado. "We're absolutely thrilled to have ULA as our partner!"
The ULA grant will fund 30 Moon, Mars and Beyond missions for Aurora 4th grade students throughout the school year. Via Internet links, each distance-learning mission will give students the experience of working together as a Mars-based team to rescue missing astronauts, who are exploring the outer fringes of our solar system.
These well-structured "e-Missions" are proven vehicles for motivating students by demonstrating - through hands-on experiences - the power of math and science to save lives. Such opportunities to apply critical-thinking skills to realistic, time-sensitive problems often trigger a student's decision to pursue a career in science and technology.
"United Launch Alliance is committed to a robust corporate citizenship program that targets the need to excite our next generation of engineers and rocket scientists," said Michael C. Gass, ULA President and Chief Executive Officer. "We have a national crisis in not inspiring enough of our young people to pursue careers in science and technology. Together with the Challenger Learning Center, ULA is working to address this challenge by supporting STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] programs and mobilizing our workforce to help make a difference in our community."
United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, provides Atlas and Delta launch vehicles in support of U.S. space programs.