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The South Australian
Space School
















 

Aim

The aim of the South Australian Space School (SASS) is to provide a stimulating, rewarding and educational experience for the most intelligent and talented of our Year 10 students in South Australia, to focus them on a career in science or engineering. This is the first state based Space School to be established in Australia.
 

Background

In 1992, through a government grant for the International Year of Space, the Australian International Space School (AISS) was founded in Sydney and Canberra, and attended by 100 students from around Australia and from other countries.

Mike Roach was the teacher chaperone to five AISS students from South Australia, and also to the two students who were selected to attend the International Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama USA, later that year. He completed a Space Science Educators Course while in the USA. On his return, he continued his involvement with AISS as Educational Advisor, and he attended AISS each year in this capacity. Mike was also on the board of the Centre for Australian Space Education (CASE), a non-profit educational organisation of teachers, scientists and engineers interested in promoting the space industry in Australia. CASE coordinated many Australia-wide competitions and activities for students of all age levels, and provided opportunities for study tours to the Kennedy Space Centre, and to the Mount Keck Telescopes in Hawaii.

John Hisco (Brighton High School) attended AISS in 1995, and he liaised with Mike on the development of teaching and learning programs in space science and astronomy for schools. He was on the committee, and an active member, of the Astronomical Society of South Australia. He developed learning programs with Pipehenge. John has taught astronomy in schools since 1984.

In 1996 Mike was approached by Dr. Olivia Samardzic, representing the Australian Institute of Physics SA, and they began discussions about the possibility of organising a Space School for South Australia. Mike and Olivia began work finding sponsors and organising the program.

The inaugural South Australian Space School took place in 1997, after successfully obtaining sponsorship from the DSTO and British Aerospace (now BAE SYSTEMS). With this sponsorship we were able to:

1. Select 40 of the best Year 10 science students in S.A. to attend the 3 day residential conference based at Adelaide University.

2. Select these students by a single advertisement in the South Australian Science Teachers (SASTA) Newsletter two months prior to the Space School.

3. Fully sponsor (flight and registration) two boys and two girls to the Australian International Space School (AISS) held in Sydney and Canberra the following year.

4. Bring a NASA astronaut to Adelaide, who then spent time with students at the Space School and was made available to the sponsors for speaking engagements.

Our sponsors in 1997 enabled us to bring NASA astronaut Dr Scott Parazynski to Adelaide. He helped repair Mir in a space walk one month prior to visiting Adelaide, and was recently personal physician to Major John Glenn on his Space Shuttle experience.

In 1998 Australian-born astronaut Dr Andy Thomas met and signed group photographs for the graduate SASS students and sponsors at a special Premierís State Reception at the Festival Theatre.

In 1999 astronaut Dr James Reilly visited the Space School, and joined the students in activities and an excursion to the Planetarium at the Levels.

 

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