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Space Foundation and Local School District to Open Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy

06/10/2009

Space Foundation and Local School District to Open Jack Swigert Aerospace AcademyCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jun. 10, 2009) -- The Space Foundation and Colorado Springs School District 11 (D-11) will open the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, named in honor of former astronaut and Colorado native John L. "Jack" Swigert, this fall in Colorado Springs. The school will have a space-related curriculum designed to drive proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

"This partnership is an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate what the Space Foundation has known for years: relating math, science, and technology education to the enthralling mysteries of space is a powerful teaching tool," said Elliot Holokauahi Pulham, chief executive officer of the Space Foundation. "Children learn better, retain more and are more inclined to pursue higher levels of technical education when they participate in hands-on space-related learning activities."

Among the student programs provided at the new space school will be a customized version of the Space Foundation's Science, Technology, and Academic Readiness for Space (STARS) curriculum. STARS includes 90 minutes of Space Foundation-provided instruction each week as well as follow-up classroom activities on topics such as rocketry principles, astronomy, earth systems science, and principles of flight.

The Space Foundation will ensure that teachers have the skills to provide space-related instruction in the classroom through a series of in-service, professional development, and training programs. The Space Foundation will also conduct its Colorado Springs Space Discovery Institutes at the Swigert Aerospace Academy beginning in 2010.

The Swigert Aerospace Academy will house three learning labs to enhance classroom learning opportunities:

  • The Mission Control Lab, which will open during the second semester, will simulate launch, flight and landing of a plethora of satellite space missions.
  • The Planetary Rover Lab, which will open during the 2010-2011 school year, will include construction of a simulated Martian terrain to be used for robotics missions using student-designed-and-built robots.
  • The Science on a Sphere (SoS) Lab, which will be built if adequate philanthropic support can be secured, will house a room-sized global display system that uses computers and video projectors to display planetary and solar system data and images onto a six-foot-diameter sphere. Developed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), SoS can illustrate many compelling images, including atmospheric storms, climate change trends, ocean temperatures, and celestial bodies.
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