National Space Shuttle Simulation Project "Takes Off." (Project at University School in Shaker Heights, OH, Is Part of Plan to Develop a National Educational Simulation Network) ( Newsline) (Column)

Article excerpt

In January 1991, six middle school students in Shaker Heights. Ohio, boarded the "space shuttle" Centennial for a special 24-hour simulated mission. Throughout the mission, the crew received hourly weather reports along with information on an "alternative landing site" from elementary school students at San Marino School near Los Angeles. Additional data regarding solar flare activity came in from students at Willoughby Middle School in Willoughby, Ohio. It was the nation's first telecomputing-based space shuttle mission, and it is a good example of the powerful learning opportunities made possible through the use of computer-related technologies.

The Centennial is a permanent, full-size space shuttle simulator built into the media center a University School-a non-sectarian independent boys school in Shaker Heights. It functions as part of the school's computer center and space science program, both of which are directed by Robert E. Morgan. It was designed with assistance from officials at NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland. The simulator includes a mission control area, and houses a variety of computers, computer-controlled video, and radio and telecommunications equipment.

Three months after their simulated mission, the student astronauts took a step closer to the real thing when NASA selected University School as one of ten schools nationwide to contact the real space shuttle Atlantis during its April 1991 mission. …