US Ambassador visits VSSEC

US Ambassador visits VSSEC

US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich visited VSSEC on Wednesday 23rd June to present the “New Era of Discovery” exhibition in recognition of the Centre’s ongoing collaboration with the United States.

Students working in Mission Control during the Mission to the Orbiting Space Laboratory program, and studying Astronomy and Astrophysics, will enjoy the display and be inspired by the achievements of the US space program.

The Ambassador toured VSSEC and discussed the importance of engaging students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from an early age, and he was impressed by the hands-on nature of the programs and the use of technology.

The Ambassador visited Mission Control and saw the introduction to the Mission to Mars by NASA Flight Director, Ginger Kerrick, who welcomes students and talks about the importance of team work and problem solving as well as the need for scientists and engineers to solve many of the challenges we face.

The Ambassador met three of the four Strathmore Secondary College students who won the 2009 International Space Settlement Design Competition. Daniyal Akhtar, Adrian Iacona, Mitchell Healy and Lance Lazzari from Strathmore were part of the international team awarded first place at the 16th International Space Settlement Design Competition at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Huston, Texas. Daniyal was also awarded the team leadership prize.

VSSEC’s collaboration with the United States continues to grow. In 2009 VSSEC was accepted as an Associate Member of the International Space Education Board (ISEB) which formalised the collaboration with NASA Education. In the education sector VSSEC has also been working with two leading US Education organisation, McREL(Mid-continent Research in Education and Learning) and ASCD(Association for Supervision and Curriculum). VSSEC Director Michael Pakakis is currently in the US attending conferences hosted by the ASCD and McREL.

Winner of the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize, Elizabeth Blaber, is currently attending the NASA Ames Academy. This is the first time an Australian has been given access to this prestigious program. During this 10 week program she will conduct research on the project ”The Influence of Spaceflight Factors on Biological Function” under the direction of Dr. Eduardo Almeida. As part of this research Elizabeth will conduct analysis on spaceflight tissue samples to increase our understanding of the combined effects of space radiation and microgravity.

While he was at VSSEC the Ambassador talked with a group of students from Korowa undertaking a Mission to Mars. He shared his experience of meeting Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and how the Apollo missions inspired his interest in science.

VSSEC will welcome two more distinguished speakers from NASA on Friday 9th July when [intlink id="2106" type="page"]Dr. Adrian Brown and Dr. Jennifer Heldmann present a Public Talk at the Centre[/intlink].