Teachers from the Academy of Math, Science, Technology at Bridger Middle School, North Las Vegas, Nev., have taken their experiment out of their classrooms and into NASA’s ‘Weightless Wonder,’ a flying microgravity laboratory.

As part of their participation in the NASA Explorer Schools program, teachers Perry Lopez and Tyrel Cooper traveled to NASA’s aircraft facility at Ellington Field, Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, on Feb. 13. At JSC, the pair prepared themselves and their experiment for their Feb. 14 flight on board NASA’s modified C-9 aircraft. The unique flight produces 25 seconds of weightlessness as the plane flies in a roller-coaster-like path of steep climbs and free falls.

“By working with teachers to develop a microgravity experiment to fly on the aircraft, the investigations help students see an application of science and mathematics concepts,” said NASA Explorer Schools Program Manager Peg Steffen. “Students worked closely with NASA engineers and scientist mentors on the experiments, giving them a first-hand look at possible careers.”

The Bridger Middle School experiment flown on the C-9 was called Robotic Arm Reduced Gravity Testing. The experiment’s goals were to collect performance data on a student-designed robotic arm in a reduced gravity environment and to compare them with data collected during similar tests conducted under normal gravity conditions at the school.

After the flight, the teachers reported their results back to the school via a videoconference using NASA’s Digital Learning Network. Students and teachers will use the data to write a final report to NASA that will discuss the experiment’s effectiveness, scientific findings and conclusions.

Bridger was selected as a NASA Explorer School in 2003 and is in the third year of its partnership with NASA. Through the partnership, the school has used NASA’s unique missions and resources to help address the mathematics and science needs of its students.

For more information on NASA Education’s Reduced Gravity Flight programs, call Debbie Nguyen of NASA Johnson Space Center at (281) 483-5111, or visit the Web at:


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