NASA Select Bronx School To Fly Aboard "Weightless Wonder"

Press Release From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2008

NASA has selected Lorraine Hansberry Academy of the Bronx, New York City, New York, to fly a student-designed experiment aboard the agency's reduced gravity aircraft, the "Weightless Wonder."

Lorraine Hansberry Academy will join 13 other NASA Explorer School (NES) teams selected for this unique learning experience to test science and math concepts in a weightless laboratory aboard the Weightless Wonder. The modified McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jetliner will fly a series of parabolic maneuvers--steep climbs followed by sharp descents. Each climb will produce about 30 seconds of hyper gravity, ranging from 1.8 to 2 g's. When the C-9 "noses over," each free fall will produce 18 to 25 seconds of weightlessness. The teams will fly about 32 parabolas.

The immediate mission for the team of educators was to finalize the concept of their experiment and work with a NASA mentor to get their experiment flight-ready. The team selected several members to accompany and execute their experiment aboard the aircraft. Those educators have already arrived at Ellington Field, a NASA aircraft facility near the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas to prepare for their flight next week.

"The goal of the NASA Explorer School Program is to equip the next generation of explorers. These flights are an illustration of how NASA can connect space, math and science to classrooms on Earth," said Rob Lasalvia, NES Program Manager.

Lorraine Hansberry Academy was selected a NASA Explorer School in 2005, giving the school an opportunity to propose a reduced gravity experiment. The program enables schools and their communities to work with NASA in a three-year partnership to develop the nation's future science, technology, engineering and mathematics work force. There are now 200 teams, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

With this program, NASA continues the agency's tradition of investing in the nation's education programs. It is directly tied the agency's major education goal of attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines. To compete effectively for the minds, imaginations, and career ambitions of America's young people, NASA is focused on engaging and retaining students in STEM education programs to encourage their pursuit of educational disciplines critical to NASA's future engineering, scientific and technical missions.

For more information on NASA Explorer Schools on the Internet, go to:

For more information on other NASA Reduced Gravity Programs, visit the Web at:

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