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Space Foundation Brings Space Education Programs, Astronaut to Fairbanks

02/06/2013

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 6, 2013) - The Space Foundation, a global space advocacy and education organization based in Colorado, is bringing its New Horizons community education program and former NASA astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao to Fairbanks Feb. 11-16.

During the week, planned activities include:

  • Monday, Feb. 11:
    • Morning: School presentations at Two Rivers Elementary, Two Rivers.
    • Afternoon: School presentations at Weller Elementary School, Fairbanks.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 12:
    • All day: School presentations at Immaculate Conception Grade School/Monroe High School, Fairbanks.
    • 4:30-5:30 p.m.: “Meet and Greet” session with the Space Foundation team and Chiao at the Monroe High School Academic Center (Library), 615 Monroe St., Fairbanks. Open to the public, no admission fee.
  • Thursday, Feb. 14:
    • Morning: School presentations at Denali Elementary, Fairbanks.
    • Afternoon: School presentations at Barnette Elementary, Fairbanks.
  • Friday, Feb. 15:
    • Morning: School presentations at Salcha Elementary, Salcha.
    • Afternoon: School presentations at North Pole High School, Fairbanks.
    • 4:00-5:00 p.m.: Free Audience with an Astronaut program for the general public featuring Chiao, Noel Wien Library, 1215 Cowles St, Fairbanks. Open to the public, no admission fee.
  • Saturday, Feb. 16:
    • 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.: Space Across the Curriculum educator professional development session, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 520 Fifth Ave., Fairbanks. For registration and questions, contact: Michelle Daml, 907-452-2000, no fee. 

SPECIAL NOTE TO MEDIA: To get more details on covering school presentations or to schedule Chiao for one-on-one in-studio and on-location interviews, contact [email protected] or call Janet Stevens at 214-437-7618.

About School Presentations
Space Education Specialists Elias Molen and Amy Robinson will present a variety of programs to individual classes and large groups of students, discussing science and mathematics principles behind topics including astronomy, space exploration and the effects of space travel on the human body. Chiao will also discuss his experiences in space and answer questions at some of the school sessions.

About Audience with an Astronaut, Meet and Greet Sessions
The Audience with an Astronaut programs, co-sponsored by Noel Wien Library, will feature Chiao talking about his experiences as a Space Shuttle astronaut and as a resident of the International Space Station (ISS). The two free sessions, which have identical content, will be held at the library. Seating is first-come, first-seated.

In addition, Chiao, Molen, Robinson and Space Foundation Vice President Marketing and Communications Janet Stevens will be available for an informal “meet and greet” at Monroe Catholic High School on Tuesday, Feb. 12. This free event is also open to the public.

About Space Across the Curriculum Educator Workshop
The Feb. 16 Space Across the Curriculum educator workshop will introduce teachers to techniques for using space to teach classroom subjects including, but not limited to, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Topics will include a discussion of the relevance of space in education, an overview of Space Foundation programs and hands-on activities focused on kinesthetic astronomy, solar system scale, star cycles and constellations.

About Chiao
Educated as an engineer, Chiao works in business and academia, including serving as the special advisor – human spaceflight for the Space Foundation. He grew up in Danville, Calif., and earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in chemical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. A native English speaker, he also speaks Mandarin Chinese and Russian. 

His Space Shuttle missions include:

  • STS-92 Discovery, Oct. 11–24, 2000
  • STS-72 Endeavour, Jan. 11–20, 1996
  • STS-65 Columbia, July 8–23, 1994

In addition, he flew as Flight Engineer 1 aboard Soyuz TMA-5 to the ISS, where he served as commander and NASA science officer for Expedition 10. He lived on the ISS for six and half months. 

Chiao received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2004. After a 15-year career with NASA, he left in 2005 to work and consult on a number of projects. In 2009, he served as a member of the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, and currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council. He holds appointments at Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine, and is involved in educational programs. An instrument-rated pilot, Chiao has logged over 2,900 flight hours in a variety of aircraft.

Local Sponsors Make Program Possible
The week’s worth of programs was made possible by local Immaculate Conception Grade School fourth-grade teacher Marci Ward, who raised community support for the program. Ward is a member of the Space Foundation’s prestigious Teacher Liaison group, which comprises about 270 extraordinary teachers from around the world who use space themes and principles in the classroom.

The lead sponsors are Pogo Mine and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

Additional sponsors include BP, the Chena Kiwanis Club, Denali State Bank, the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp., the Fairbanks Kiwanis Club, Fountainhead Development, Inc., Fort Knox Gold Mine, Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority, Jeffrey and Kelly Brooks, Faith and Paul Walsh, Judy and Johne Binkley, Mary Binkley and Grace Minder. 

Additional sponsorships are available; interested individuals and organizations should contact [email protected]

This is the third such program the Space Foundation has done in Fairbanks since 2007. Ward also arranged the program last year. This year’s event is enhanced by the Audience with an Astronaut sessions.

About the Space Foundation
The foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry and an expert in all aspects of space, the Space Foundation is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom and major industry events, including the National Space Symposium, all in support of its mission "to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity." The Space Foundation publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and provides three indexes that track daily U.S. stock market performance of the space industry. Through its Space Certification™ and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, the Space Foundation recognizes space-based technologies and innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. The Space Foundation was founded in 1983 and is based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Its world headquarters features a public Visitors Center with two main areas - the El Pomar Space Gallery and the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere®. The Space Foundation also conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C., office and has a field office in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.SpaceFoundation.org. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and read about the latest space news and Space Foundation activities in Space Watch.

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