AFSPC commander launches High Frontier Adventures
By Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Thibault, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 16, 2006
COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. -- Air Force Space Command’s most senior leader headed back to the classroom this week, not to brush up on the latest space concepts, but to share some of his expertise with the students.
General Lance W. Lord, AFSPC Commander, shared his space experience with some of Discovery Canyon’s fifth and sixth graders as the kickoff for the command’s High Frontier Adventures initiative.
High Frontier Adventures is an Air Force Space Command program that encourages Air Force space professionals to reach out to their community through involvement in K-12 classrooms. It was designed to make a difference in a growing national deficit of people educated in the space, science, math, engineering and technology fields.
As part of the Space Professional Continuing Education Program, credentialed Space Professionals are now required to perform four hours a year of outreach in local communities to enrich the learning experiences of students.
“I am extremely pleased to be working with our community partners and educators as Air Force Space Command brings a face to space and supports the President’s initiative,” said the general in his opening remarks.
President George W. Bush, in his most recent state of the union address Jan. 31, stressed the importance of such initiatives.
“ … [We need to] encourage innovation throughout our economy and to give our Nation’s children a firm grounding in math and science,” said President Bush. “If we ensure that America’s children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.”
Community involvement has always been a focus of Air Force personnel, but this new program will build upon those involvement efforts.
“This program is designed to expand and unify our collective efforts in America’s classrooms,” said General Lord. “We want to bring space into the classrooms and get our students excited about math and science—areas where America needs more focus to develop stronger students and future leaders.”
The U.S. Space Foundation, headquartered in Colorado Springs, has worked closely with AFSPC in developing the program and helped launch High Frontier Adventures.
The program is a way to help our children be more competitive in the math and science arena, said Dr. Patricia Arnold, Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, at the Space Foundation.
“I think [High Frontier Adventures] has the potential to become a national program,” said Dr. Arnold.
After opening comments and introduction to the class, General Lord taught a space-based lesson. The lesson included a showing of the recent Mars Odyssey launch on a Delta II rocket. He then discussed the mathematical and scientific equations that come into play when conducting a launch.
Although he was talking about rocket science, it was not above the students’ heads.
“The satellite is so small…so how will it have enough fuel to get back to Earth?” asked one of the students.
“You’ve heard the saying, ‘What goes up must come down’? Not in this case,” replied the general. Most satellites are put into what is called a disposal orbit when no longer operational. “Some do come back, for example the space shuttle,” he said.
Throughout the lesson, the class explored the relationship between the sun and the nine planets, to include a demonstration with each child representing the sun and planets and the distance between them.
“It takes a lot of math and science to get in to space,” General Lord said. And if the students continue to explore the math and sciences they could be tomorrow’s space leaders.
Before the students headed to their next class, General Lord ensured they knew his motto, “If you’re not in space, you’re not in the race.”
The students didn’t leave empty-handed. The general gave out homework and educational mementos to help them remember the day’s event.
The general left with something too.
“I have a renewed exuberance for what we do,” said General Lord. “We’re starting the action to pave the way for the next generation of leaders.”