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Teachers Get Joy Ride in 'Space'

More than 50 teachers from the District, Maryland and Virginia went aloft in Northrop Grumman's Weightless Flight of Discovery, including those at left. Above, Sharon Webb of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology goes for a float.
More than 50 teachers from the District, Maryland and Virginia went aloft in Northrop Grumman's Weightless Flight of Discovery, including those at left. Above, Sharon Webb of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology goes for a float. (Steve Boxall - Photo By Steve Boxall/northrop G)

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

When Northrop Grumman's Weightless Flight of Discovery took off from Dulles International Airport last week, 15 teachers from Fairfax County and two from Falls Church were aboard one of the two trips that took more than 50 teachers from the area aloft.

The company came up with the idea to give teachers firsthand knowledge and experience in how math, science and engineering principles work aboard a "microgravity" flight, flying maneuvers that left the teachers weightless.

The idea was not just a joy ride for the teachers.

"The need to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. in the areas of engineering and technology . . . remains a very real challenge," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation and a company vice president.

"The pursuit of these areas by our youngsters begins with a passion for science and math," she said. "Teachers play a key role in igniting that passion, and it is our goal to provide teachers with the tools and training necessary to inspire the next generation."

And so, teachers put on flight suits, with name badges upside-down, traveled to the plane and then rode through a series of pilot maneuvers to give them sensations of differing degrees of gravity, including none. When they landed, they turned their name badges right side up -- their mission a success.

Here are the Fairfax and Falls Church teachers who made the trip:

Fairfax County:

¿ James F. Chalupsky, Francis Scott Key Middle School.


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