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Home | Lifestyle | Amy's Everyday Astronomy | Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: Demo2 Launch activities for families, educators, and students
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft undergoes final processing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in preparation for the Demo-2 launch with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. | Photo courtesy NASA

Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: Demo2 Launch activities for families, educators, and students

T-minus 9 days until the first launch from American soil since the space shuttle Atlantis in 2011.

I can remember the STS missions, some of which I woke up early to watch, others happened late enough that we watched them in the classroom. Unlike those other launches, this one will be done without anyone other than authorized personnel at the site.

While it will be happening in the late afternoon, with classes being done virtually, there will be no televisions wheeled in to excite the students. But I have a plan in the works that will solve all those issues.

For starters, NASA wants to ensure educators can engage their students as much as possible. This is why they are inviting all K-12 teachers (including parents who are homeschooling) to join a free webinar happening tomorrow evening.

This second in a series of four webinars will focus on the design, development and testing of SpaceX flight hardware destined to make history by launching the first crewed spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center since 2011.

It starts at 4pm MST and will be led by Dr. Samuel García Jr. who serves as a NASA Educator Professional Development Specialist, Assistant Professor of Practice for the LBJ Institute for Education and Research.

Dr. García helps facilitate professional development to both formal and informal STEM educators utilizing NASA resources and works with faculty serving in Minority Serving Institutions in developing STEM educational tools and resources for teachers to implement in their classrooms. Anyone interested in this free webinar can register here.

Another cool thing NASA has available for everyone right now is the Commercial Crew Program VR 360 Tour of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. This YouTube video is versatile and allows the viewer to use their mouse (or finger on mobile devices) to move around for a total of 360 degrees so they can feel as if they are really there.

You can check that out here, along with other 360 videos from NASA, including the launch pad.

Don’t for get to have your STEM Social Cheat Sheet handy. As I mentioned in my last article, you can find tons of great information on the spacecraft, crew, and instructions on how to build your own Eggstronaut Parachute.

Challenge your kids, siblings, or friends online to see whose design is the best! If you haven’t gotten your copy downloaded yet, what are you waiting for?

If going outside in this heat is not your thing, you can test your skills at docking the Crew Dragon spacecraft with the ISS online. So far, I can attest that I am a superior pilot versus our Editor-in-Chief, Chris Babcock. Test your skill against your family here.

As we get closer, I will have more webinars, activities, and a special surprise on the actual day of the launch.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at lunapoetic@gmail.com, or check out my Facebook Page to submit your questions there.

***

To view Amy’s previous columns, click here.

About Amy Cooley

A native El Pasoan, Amy Cooley attended Parkland High School before beginning her studies in physics at EPCC. With her love of dark skies increasing, she transferred to New Mexico Tech University where she earned her degree in Astronomy. Moving back to El Paso in 2008, she now wants to share her love of the cosmos with the city she calls home.

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