Two industry-sponsored educators will join other participants at four-day conference at NASA's Kennedy Space Center this week marking the launch of the Magellan planetary spacecraft.
Some 200 educators from around the country will participate in the conference, scheduled April 25-28 in Orlando, Florida. The week concludes with the launch of Atlantis on space shuttle mission STS-30, carrying the Venus mapper spacecraft Magellan into space.
Martin Marietta Astronautics Group of Denver, Colorado, which built the Magellan spacecraft, will host Anthony W. Zaragoza, an astronomy and chemistry instructor at West High School in Denver.
Diane Island, principal of Canyon Elementary School in Santa Monica, California, will attend as guest of Hughes Aircraft Company of El Segundo, California, which built Magellan's radar mapping instrument.
The conference is designed to give teachers and educators background on current missions exploring the solar system. In addition to science and math teachers at levels from grade school through university, participants include planetarium directors, science lecturers and science education specialists.
Magellan will be the first NASA spacecraft launched to explore another planet in more than decade. It is also the first of several planetary craft which will be initially launched by NASA's space shuttle.
Mission plans call for the 7,604-pound Magellan craft to be carried into Earth orbit in the cargo bay of the space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for launch April 28. The shuttle's cargo bay will open and Magellan will be released. booster rocket attached to Magellan will then fire, sending the unmanned craft on 15-month cruise to the planet Venus.
The Magellan Launch Educators' Conference is sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Public Education Office with NASA's Educational Affairs Division and NASA Kennedy Space Center's Office of Education and Awareness.
JPL manages the Magellan Project for NASA as part of the space agency's program of solar system exploration. Magellan is funded by NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications.
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