Flight and fancy at new NASA lab
- By Daniel Keegan
- Jun 23, 2000
A new NASA Aeronautics Education Laboratory in Los Angeles allows students
to use computer workstations that simulate planning a flight, checking equipment
and flying around the country.
Using 10 state-of-the-art computers, students can study aeronautics
by examining elements of satellite global positioning, remote sensing, amateur
radio and aircraft design.
The final step — participating in the virtual flight across the country — allows students to "visit" NASA's four aeronautical centers, take tours
and use wind tunnels.
"It's a much better and exciting way for students to learn about aeronautics,"
said Jo Anne Charleston, chief of the Office of Education Programs at NASA's
Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. "It's better than reading it from
NASA has 15 such labs across the country, but the one that opened in
Los Angeles last week is the first in the western part of the country. Another
lab will open June 26 in Atlanta. Two others are being planned: One will
teach students about zero gravity, and the other will allow students to
visit a virtual space station, act as commander and launch or repair a satellite.
Charleston said teachers often bring their classes to the labs after
first using a NASA-prepared curriculum to familiarize students with the
topics. Designed for students in grades seven through 12, the labs also
help teachers learn about NASA. Many people, she said, don't realize that
NASA also works in aeronautics, not just space travel.
NASA's Office of Equal Opportunity Programs provided $200,000 to establish
the laboratory; the Glenn Research Center designed and implemented it.