Aerospace Academies

Aerospace Academies

The Los Angeles Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (LA-AFCEA) in partnership with the South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce (SBACC), Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and the local aerospace industry has established the Aerospace Academy at San Pedro High School (SPHS). The goal is to increase the number of high school graduates with solid academic credentials in math and science and to provide school-to-career opportunities for all students. Additionally, the academy at SPHS is a pilot for similar academies to be established at other high schools in the South Bay. A second academy is being established at El Segundo High School.

A steering committee comprised of partnership representatives oversees planning and evaluates program performance against academic goals. The first step in the process is to review the school's curriculum to identify opportunities for insertion of aerospace-related courses and instructional modules.

We developed Introduction to Aerospace for second-semester freshmen. This course consists of ten two-week teaching modules to introduce students to air and space flight. The first five modules address flight in the earth's atmosphere by acquainting the students with aerospace engineering and the atmosphere, aircraft design and the laws of physics governing atmospheric flight, aircraft flight mechanics and aerodynamics, aircraft propulsion and performance, and careers in the aircraft industry. The next five modules address operating in space through examination of the space environment and the laws of physics governing space flight, spacecraft design, orbital mechanics, launch vehicle propulsion, and careers in the spacecraft industry. Each module is designed to provide a combination of classroom lecture, guest speakers from the local aerospace industry, labs, and field trips.

A second course, Meteorology, is designed for sophomores as a one or two-semester elective. It addresses atmospheric and space weather in five modules consisting of five-to-eight lessons and one-to-three activities. Core lessons include the Earth's Atmosphere, Observing the Weather, Analyzing the Weather, Forecasting the Weather, and Space Weather. Special topics will include History and Lore, Severe Weather, El Niño/La Niña, Smog, Sea Breezes, UV Index, Santa Ana Winds, Global Warming, The Ozone Layer, Biometeorology, and careers in meteorology.

Each of these courses benefits from education programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Included in these programs is NASA-Goddard's Exploring Technology with Satellite Imagery, for which LA-AFCEA purchased a Satellite SuperFeed Package from NASA's vendor, Aquila Systems, Inc. This package consists of a 21-inch dish and feed (DirectPC from Hughes Network Systems), mounting hardware, and high-speed server with preloaded software. This system can receive raw satellite imagery from GOES-East weather satellites as well as selected imagery from other satellites.

To support classroom demonstrations of aeronautical principles and student projects, a water tunnel was purchased from Eidetics Corp. The tunnel provides a test section with two side windows and one downstream window for viewing. Flow visualization is provided by a three-color, pressurized dye system with individual needle valve controls. An upstream dye wand can be used to show the difference in flow with and without motion and at varying angles of attack and to show how lift is produced. Water flow speed can be varied to demonstrate the effects of velocity.

A Flowtek Wind Tunnel is being purchased also for classroom demonstrations and student experiments. Meteorology equipment has been purchased for use in Meteorology.

Ultimately, the Aerospace Academy could operate as a school-within-a-school with teamed teachers in grades 9 through 12. A third course, Environment, is under development as a semester elective in conjunction with Meteorology for sophomores. Internships at aerospace companies and laboratories are being developed for juniors and seniors on school-to-career tracks. A selected team of English, math, and science teachers would conduct all academy classes on back-to-back schedules. Teacher conference periods would be coordinated to maximize continuity of instruction between disciplines.
Curriculum Committee

* Dr. E. Robert Skloss, Chairman, Harris Corp.
* Stephen H. Walters, Principal, San Pedro High School (SPHS)
* Dr. William Watkins, Superintendent, El Segundo Unified School District
* Dr. Newton Hart, Principal, El Segundo High School
* Col. (Ret.) Edwin W. A. Peura, Facilitator, LA-AFCEA
* Debbie Ferguson, Computer Support, SPHS
* Larry J. Thomson, Instructor, SPHS (2000)
* Jessica Barker, Instructor, SPHS (2001)
* Diane Kerr, Administrative Support, Harris Corp
* Dr. Carl A. Forbrich, Introduction to Aerospace Developer, LA-AFCEA and Logicon
* Dr. David J. Gorney, Meteorology Developer, The Aerospace Corp
* Leslie Belsma, Meteorology Developer, The Aerospace Corp
* Dr. Graham S. Arnold, Advisor, The Aerospace Corp
* Ronald G. Barth, Advisor, Lockheed Martin Co
* Arde L. Bedjanian, Advisor, Logicon
* Frank S. Buzard, Advisor, F. S. Buzard Associates, Inc
* Dr. Rodney C. Gibson, Advisor, The Aerospace Corp
* Rick Randall, Advisor, LA-AFCEA and Sun Microsystems
* Dr. Jon F. Reynolds, Advisor, LA-AFCEA
* Colonel Chuck Cornell, Advisor, LA-AFCEA and Space and Missile Systems Center

Grants supporting this initiative were made by the following organizations:
1999-2000

* TRW - $16,000
* AFCEA Education Foundation - $6000
* National Space Club - $2,000
* National Defense Industrial Association - $1,000
* South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce - $1,000
* The Aerospace Corporation - $500
* The Schriever Education Foundation - $500
* Southern California Edison - $500
* Pacific Bell - $500

2000-2001

* TRW - $16,000
* AFCEA Educational Foundation - $10,000
* Logicon - $9000
* LA-AFCEA - $8,000
* Schriever Education Foundation - $6,000
* Northrop Grumman - $2,500