SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 19, 2008 -- The Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) Foundation launched 53 California teachers into weightlessness yesterday as part of the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program. The goal: to inspire and prepare the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers -- critical areas where the United States has fallen behind globally.
"We want to encourage students to pursue careers in science and technology," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation, which sponsors the flights. "Our experience has shown that we can inspire students by first inspiring their teachers through their participation in this unique program."
Teaming with Zero Gravity Corp, the teachers participate in a parabolic or "zero-gravity" aircraft flight that mimics how astronauts train for space flights and creates temporary weightlessness comparable to what humans experience during space travel.
The teachers performed a number of experiments during flights that simulated Martian, lunar and zero gravities. The experiments were designed to test Newton's Laws of Motion and ranged from teacher tosses and "Superman" flights to pendulum bobs and digital accelerometers to measure acceleration due to gravity. Many of the teachers worked with their students before the flights to form hypotheses about the effects of microgravity on the experiments. Following the flights, the teachers will bring their first-hand experiences, enthusiasm and videotaped experiments of science-in-action into the classroom, where they will be integrated into lesson plans.
The Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery is an innovative hands-on training program that gives teachers an 'out-of-this-world' experience as a way to help them inspire their students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
For more information, visit: http://www.northropgrumman.com/community/weightless.html .
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Northrop Grumman employs more than 29,000 Californians and supports a broad range of major programs, including manufacturing of manned and unmanned military aircraft, defense electronics, space systems, and military and civilian information technology systems.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Editor's Note: Video, hi-res photos and teacher interviews available upon request.
CONTACT: Tom Delaney Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (410) 993-6454 firstname.lastname@example.org