This spring, NASA Explorer Schools teams of teachers and
administrators from Nebraska, Minnesota, and Iowa will fly
aboard NASA’s “weightless wonder”, a KC-135A aircraft, as part
of NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.

For the first time, teams from NASA Explorer Schools will
participate in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight
Opportunities program. Participants will design and build
experiments for a microgravity environment and fly them aboard
NASA’s KC-135A aircraft. As a flying science laboratory, the
KC-135A alternates steep climbs and dives, riders experience
the best opportunity at weightlessness available on Earth.

The NASA Explorer Schools selected to fly in 2004 are: Pender
Public Schools, Pender, Neb., Crossroads Elementary School,
Saint Paul, Minn., and Sioux Central Middle School, Sioux
Rapids, Iowa.

Teams of students and teachers from these NASA Explorer
Schools, working in collaboration with NASA scientist-mentors,
will develop experiments that two teachers per school will
conduct during flights aboard the aircraft. The flights will
take place April 15-21 from Houston’s Ellington Field, near
NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

“One of the goals of the NES program is to provide teachers and
their students with unique opportunities that are inquiry-
based, ‘as only NASA can’,” said Peggy Steffen, NASA Explorer
Schools program manager. “Developing an experiment to fly on
the reduced gravity aircraft with the assistance of a NASA
scientist-mentor will provide the students an opportunity to
investigate a real-world application of physical science.”

The NASA Explorer Schools Program, started in June 2003,
establishes a three-year partnership between NASA and 50 new
NASA Explorer Schools teams annually. The teams consist of
teachers and education administrators from diverse communities
across the country. During the commitment period, NASA invites
teams to NASA Centers to spark innovative science and
mathematics instruction directed specifically at students in
grades four through nine. The selected schools are also
eligible for up to $17,500 in grants over the three years of
involvement, pending continued funding. The deadline for 2004
NASA Explorer Schools Program applications is midnight tonight.

For more information about the Reduced Gravity Student Flight
Opportunities program on the Internet, and access to a short
video about the program, visit:

For information about the NASA Explorer Schools Program on the
Internet, visit:

For information about other NASA educational programs on the
Internet, visit:

For information about NASA on the Internet, visit: