Report from Headquarters

Teachers Use New AGI Space Missions Simulator

Written by: developer

Teachers Use New AGI Space Missions Simulator Thanks to a multi-million dollar donation from Analytical Graphics, Inc., (AGI), teachers in this summer's Space Foundation Space Across the Curriculum classes were among the first to use the new AGI Space Missions Simulator at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo.

AGI, headquartered in Exton, Pa., donated software, licensing, and new computer equipment valued at more than $3 million to establish the education lab, which simulates launch, flight, and landing of a variety of space missions. The lab runs AGI's STK, Orbit Determination Tool Kit (ODTK) and STK/Astrogator software, allowing users to design their own satellite orbits and track their satellites.

The 15 teachers in the professional development class, "Space Technologies in the Classroom: Imagery and High-Tech Science," learned the many applications of space technologies, including orbital mechanics, every-day uses of satellites, robotics, and communications.

AGI provided instructor Dr. T.S. Kelso to train the teachers to use the lab's software. Kelso is senior research astrodynamicist for AGI's Center for Space Standards and Innovation (CSSI) in Colorado Springs. He told the teachers that AGI is committed to supporting STEM education efforts and creating opportunities to educate the next generation of space scientists.

The AGI missions simulator opened this past spring at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute, just in time for students at the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy to use the lab to complete their multi-curricular study of the International Space Station (ISS). The sixth graders programmed a simulation predicting when the ISS would be visible over Colorado Springs. The simulator includes 30 student stations and one teacher station and may be used by any school district, when available.

The Space Foundation Discovery Institute opened in Colorado Springs in the fall of 2009 and provides space- and aerospace-themed professional development, training, and support for teachers and students from around the world. It serves as the base location for the Space Foundation's education programs, and also houses classrooms and a NASA Educator Resource Center.

For more about Space Foundation education programs, click here.

Pictured: Laura Cipiti, a Gifted and Talented Learning Specialist from Cheyenne Mountain Elementary in Colorado Springs, learns to use the new AGI Space Missions Simulator at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute.


This article is part of Space Watch: August 2010 (Volume: 9, Issue: 8).