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Online Distance Learning between Taipei Lishan High School and Houston Space Center: From Low-Level Class to Space Shuttle Chief Engineer

There was a feast of online distance learning between Taipei Lishan High School and Houston Space Center, which was held by Lishan High School, Department of Education, Houston Space Center and Houston Association for Space and Science Education(HASSE). It took place at Lishan High School today (21st of November). There were two exchange students from America and Brazil, among three hundred students and teachers from Songshan High School, Zhongshan High school, Bailing High School, Wanfang High School, The affiliated High School of National Chengchi University, Lishan Junior High School, and Huaxing Junior High School partaking in the activity. NASA Chief Engineer Satish_Reddy was invited to give a speech to the students. Satish, who used to be NASA's structural analysis chief engineer, was in charge of coordination between the design team and the analysis team, resolving application problems related to the space shuttle and the differences between engineering analyses and testing. Because of his contribution, he was granted for the most honorable award, Silver Snoopy, the highest respect to the recipient who contributed the most to the mission, and the award was given by astronauts. Right now, Satish is still working on the promotion of space development inside NASA. In the beginning of the speech, Satish used the principle of launching space shuttles to explain Newton's laws of motion which used to be a difficult part in physics textbooks, allowing students to understand that physics not only stands for difficult principles, but is also knowledge that students can apply to their life and to fulfill their dreams of exploring space. In addition, Satish introduced the construction and functions of the space shuttle and, from an engineer’s point of view, explained the process from launching the space shuttle to the Orbiter successfully going around the orbits, and the difficulties and the challenges during the process. From his zealous explanation, students fully felt Satish’s persistence and passion for being a top engineer. After Satish’s speech, many students raised their questions and discussed them with Satish. Those questions included NASA under processing plans, the planning of future missions, space exploring plans, halting the space shuttle plan, aliens, and Satish sharing his own study and work experience. For instance, student Chen Kuanting raised a question regarding NASA launching spacecraft (MAVEN) last week. Responding to him, Satish deliberately introduced that MAVEN is a spacecraft to explore Mars’ atmosphere and analyze its content. In the end, Satish suggested that if students want further information, they should always check NASA’s website. From the activity, students seemed to be very curious about space; even when the activity had already finished, students still kept raising questions. It could be clearly observed that many students yearned to learn more science. A prize-awarded quiz and lucky draw were held after the end of the activity. The host organization also prepared 2 Astronaut Ice Cream for the students who answered the questions correctly. Additionally, a space sleeping bag from NASA, which students were interested in, was given to one lucky student randomly picked by Mr. Hsu Chienkuo, Principal of Lishan High School. It is the ninth time the activity has been held this year. The activities allow the Taiwanese students to talk to the scientists from NASA and learn first-hand information about space science, which makes Taipei more energetic and farsighted. “The association will keep sponsoring the interaction between Taiwanese students and scientists of the Space Center and long distance learning with Lishan High School,” said Liu Choyu, Houston Association for Space and Science Education Director. There are always students of Lishan High School coming to Space Center every year to receive the astronaut’s model training, to interview outstanding scientists from NASA laboratory and the Space Shuttle Mission Control Center.