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For release: 07/28/03
Release #: 03-129

Teachers of the year experience out-of-this-world training

The nation's top teachers, chosen by their peers, are on a weeklong space "mission" at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, courtesy of NASA. The teachers will experience mission training, mission simulation, and a water-survival aviation challenge. The event is co-sponsored by the Marshall Center.

The nation's top teachers from each state including representatives from American Samoa, Department of Defense Education Activity, District of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands are journeying on a weeklong space "mission" this summer, courtesy of NASA. The teachers, chosen by their peers, arrived at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., July 26, and are learning what it's like to live and work in space. The event continues through August 2 and is co-sponsored by the Marshall Space Flight Center, also in Huntsville.

Teachers will have the opportunity to become astronauts, scientists and engineers, if only for a week. They will be able to experience first-hand the impact that space exploration has on everyday life and our nation's future. NASA is committed to sharing its resources with our nation's classrooms.

"NASA has a responsibility to enlighten and inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and technologists," said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, NASA Associate Administrator for Education. "Our nation needs young people to be our discoverers and explorers of tomorrow, and NASA needs them to help us explore new worlds and to improve life here on Earth. We aspire to help our educators do even better what they do so well: inspire and nurture young minds to learn and grow. Educators touch the future and by partnering with our educators we are working collaboratively to develop the talent pool that is crucial to our nation and NASA."

The teachers' schedule includes lectures from scientists about space exploration, the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle and current NASA research. They will also enjoy a multi-faceted experience consisting of mission training, mission simulation, a water-survival aviation challenge, robotics and science demonstrations, a look at rocket construction and dozens of other events. They will spend July 28 touring the Marshall Center and meeting with center director David King.

Teacher of the Year winners are selected by each state's education department on the basis of nominations by students, teachers, principals, and school district administrators throughout the states. The program, which began in 1952, is considered the top honor in recognizing and rewarding teaching excellence.

"Educators have one of the world's most important jobs," said Jim Pruitt, Marshall Center manager of the education programs department. "Marshall salutes their hard work and dedication to children. NASA's mission statement dedicates the agency to "inspire the
next generation of explorers, and we believe that partnering with teachers is vital to this element," Pruitt said.

For more information about NASA Education programs. please visit:

For more information about International Space Camp, please visit:

For more news at the Marshall Space Flight Center, please visit:

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News release

Martin Jensen
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034


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