Northrop Grumman Foundation Announces 2011 Weightless Flights of Discovery Program at National Science Teachers' Association Conference

Press Release From: Northrop Grumman Corporation
Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2011

image -- Unique professional development initiative promotes STEM education
-- Teacher flights planned for Washington, D.C, and Los Angeles, Calif.
-- Accepting Teacher Applications before deadline of May 13, 2011

The Northrop Grumman Foundation announced today that the Foundation is accepting teacher applications for the 2011 Weightless Flights of Discovery program, a unique professional development initiative that places teachers on microgravity flights to test Newton's Laws of Motion and energize students during their formative middle school years. The announcement was made during the National Science Teachers Association's (NSTA) National Conference on Science Education, held in San Francisco this week.

A video accompanying this release is available at

Middle school math and science teachers from public schools are welcome to apply for the program at All applications are prepared and filed online and the deadline is May 13, 2011. The Foundation has selected two locations for this year's flights: Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12, 2011, and Los Angeles on Sept. 26, 2011. More information about the program is also available at Northrop Grumman Corporation's exhibit at NSTA this week, booth 839.

"This is the sixth year that the Northrop Grumman Foundation has sponsored the Weightless Flights of Discovery program and we remain enthusiastic about the opportunity it brings to middle-school teachers and their students," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. "This program has touched nearly 1,300 middle-school math and science teachers by providing them with a once in a lifetime, hands-on experience in math and science, which, in turn, has impacted approximately a half million students across the country. I continue to be amazed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the teachers who complete this program and that they are inspiring our next generation of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation is again partnering with the Zero Gravity Corporation to offer the Weightless Flights of Discovery program, one of several initiatives the Foundation sponsors to promote education and student interest in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

"The Weightless Flights of Discovery program gives teachers a professional development opportunity that helps them to make science and math fascinating and applicable for the students. The tools and experiences the teachers receive reinforce to their students that math and science are not only interesting and exciting, but can also be the basis for a fascinating and prosperous career," said Evers-Manly.

Selected teachers will participate in a full-day workshop several weeks before their flight. Teachers then will work with their students to develop experiments to be conducted in environments that create lunar gravity, Martian gravity and weightlessness. Following the two-to-three-hour flight, each teacher will share his or her experiences back in the classroom.

Video footage of past teacher experiments conducted during earlier Weightless Flights of Discovery is available at:

The program targets middle school math and science teachers primarily because the United States is experiencing a shortage of college graduates in these disciplines, a development that bodes poorly for the nation's industries that depend on talented scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Because studies have indicated most children make the decision to pursue math and science education and careers during middle school, the Northrop Grumman Foundation developed the Weightless Flights of Discovery program to engage teachers, key influencers in the lives of students during these crucial years.

To learn more about the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program, please visit

The Northrop Grumman Foundation supports diverse and sustainable programs for students and teachers. These programs create innovative education experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

CONTACT: Margaret Mitchell-Jones
Northrop Grumman Corporation
(703) 875-8330

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