Sonja Alexander/ Kirsten Larson Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1600) Teresa Ehrman Space Center Houston


February 8, 2001

More than 650 educators from around the nation and Canada will experience the hands-on challenges of living and working in space. NASA involves the education community in its endeavors as a way to inspire and enlighten inquisitive minds. During a unique two-day conference, the Agency will use the International Space Station to motivate teachers to encourage young people to study science, mathematics, technology and engineering. The Seventh Annual International Space Station Educators Conference is scheduled to begin Feb. 9 in Houston, TX. Conference participants will have hands-on, interactive sessions, such as building and launching rockets, constructing their own space suits, assembling a space station model and preparing astronaut food. "This conference provides a unique opportunity to spread the excitement of the International Space Station to educators throughout the world, as well as teach about what lies ahead with the ISS," said Patricia Tribe, Director of Education, Space Center Houston, Houston, TX. The orbiting platform is the most complex construction project ever undertaken in space. Sixteen countries have joined together to build a sophisticated complex for space science research and human habitation. "The International Space Station symbolizes one of the most complex international challenges faced by people of this planet,'' said Frank C. Owens, Director, Education Division, Office of Human Resources and Education, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. Owens added, "It is only fitting that NASA provide educators from around the country first-hand access to our plans and research agenda for this new NASA orbiting laboratory. In doing so, NASA is making an investment in the conference participants as they will translate this experience for the youth of our nation -- America's future. Research aboard the station will include probes of how human genes function, development of human tissue models to study infections diseases, and examination of combustion processes to improve fuel efficiency. Since November, a three-person crew, led by American commander astronaut Bill Shepherd, has been living and working aboard this orbiting outpost.

Guest speakers at the conference include astronauts Dan Burbank, Chris Hadfield, Barbara Morgan and David Wolf. Michael Hawes, Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Station at NASA Headquarters, and Kathryn Clark, Senior Scientist for the Human Development and Exploration of Space Enterprise, NASA Headquarters, will speak during the conference. The crew of the STS-92 mission is also expected to participate in the conference. The International Space Station Conference is sponsored by NASA Headquarters; NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX; The Boeing Company, Houston; Southwest Airlines, Dallas, TX; and Space Center Houston. -end-