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January 29, 2002

Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(281) 483-5111

Susan Tortorici
Space Center Houston
(281) 244-2149

Release: J02-10 -- Teachers Get First-Hand Experience with International Space Station

An estimated 650 educators from around the world are expected to attend the Eighth Annual International Space Station Educators Conference on February 1-2, 2002, in Houston, Texas.

Educators will get an up-close and personal look at the International Space Station and hear the latest news direct from two American astronauts now living on the station. The conference is being hosted by Space Center Houston, the official visitors center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) with support from Boeing. The weekend seminar is designed to inform educators about the station and enhance current theories taught in the classroom with space education.

A live downlink from Astronauts Dan Bursch and Carl Walz is scheduled for 9:46 a.m. CST Friday, Feb. 1, from the International Space Station. Other guest speakers at the conference include Space Station Chief Scientist Roger Crouch, NASA Headquarters; Astronauts Dan Burbank, Kent Rominger, David Wolf and Expedition Two station astronauts Susan Helms and Jim Voss, all in Houston, plus Astronaut Chris Hadfield, live from Star City, Russia.

“This conference provides a unique opportunity to share the excitement of the International Space Station to educators throughout the world, as well as providing them with innovative methods for integrating this exciting endeavor into the classroom to promote math, science and technology,” said Susan Tortorici, Supervisor of Educational Programs, Space Center Houston. “It’s also an excellent way for the attendees to discover how to use space as a theme in teaching concepts with existing classroom curriculum, and to meet the very people who are developing the station.”

The largest conference to date -- with participants from all 50 states, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands -- includes a tour of full-scale station mock-ups at JSC; a trip to the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, where astronauts train and practice for space station missions; a tour of the X-38 Assembly Building, where engineers are developing technologies that could be used in future station crew return vehicles; and more than 100 sessions featuring teachers, scientists, engineers, and other aerospace specialists.

Teachers will participate in numerous hands-on, interactive sessions, such as building and launching rockets, constructing their own spacesuits, assembling a space station model and preparing astronaut food.

The International Space Station Educators Conference is hosted annually by Space Center Houston with the support of Boeing, NASA/Johnson Space Center, and Southwest Airlines.

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