WASHINGTON – NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to foster the development of students’ skills in science, technology, engineering and math. The agreement supports the FAA’s mission to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world and NASA’s mission to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.

“This is a perfect example of collaboration that complements and supports each organization’s educational goals,” said Dr. Joyce Winterton, NASA associate administrator for Education, Headquarters, Washington. “Joint outreach efforts like this will contribute to NASA and FAA goals for a diverse, qualified aviation and space workforce for the future.”

The partnership includes a broad range of cooperative outreach activities. The agencies’ initial focus is on a NASA curriculum called “Smart Skies.” Smart Skies is an online air traffic control simulator for students in fifth through ninth grades. It offers a fun and exciting way to learn math and skills central to air traffic control while providing multiple modes of problem solving for students who learn in different ways.

The agreement unites the strengths of both agencies to provide the best of aviation-related educational products and experiences to the widest possible population of students and educators.

“The synergy of this relationship will promote joint endeavors that motivate students to further develop their skills for careers in aviation and aerospace,” said Ruth Leverenz, FAA associate administrator for Region and Center Operations, Washington.

Smart Skies’ unique approach also exposes students to high-technology careers related to aviation. NASA developed the program with help from air traffic controllers at FAA’s Oakland, Calif., facility.

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