Teachers reach for the stars with NASA



Not every teacher gets the opportunity to work with NASA engineers. Dr. Evans, Mrs. Parsons, Mr. Jurey, Mrs. Owens and Mr. Shalala all have the opportunity to work with NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. They are to design and build a device that can launch a satellite at a moving target.

Mrs. Parson and Mr. Jurey are some of the teachers teaming up with NASA. Photo by Ahmed Darwich

The project is part of NASA’s Microgravity University for Educator’s initiative. To be accepted into the program, groups had to submit a proposal that outlined their plans. The proposals were reviewed, and twelve teams were then selected to participate.

“SLED stands for satellite launching experimental device. Basically, we have to design, within the parameters that NASA gave to us, a device that can release the satellite… Our launcher has to be able to hold onto this item for a certain amount of time. And then we have to be able to automatically and manually launch it,” said Mr. Jurey along with Mrs. Parsons, who will be two of the five traveling to Houston.

According to NASA, the SLED will be made out of common household items. A NASA engineer, who is only providing guidance and information, will advise the group. Designing and building the SLED will solely be the responsibility of the group.

The trip starts in the second week of April. NASA and the Johnson Space Center will cover all expenses, such as travel, food, and their hotel.

“We are very excited about it. I cannot wait to get on the ground down at NASA. I think that is going to be so neat, walking around Johnson. You start looking at the history of Johnson, and all the things that have gone into space from there. To be on the ground, and shown around is a rare privilege that not many people get to experience, I can’t wait,” said Mr. Jurey.