AUBURN HILLS — More than 50 years since a Chrysler-built Redstone rocket launched Alan Shepard into space, The Chrysler Foundation, the charitable arm of Chrysler Group LLC, will present Warren Consolidated School’s Butcher Educational Center with a $17,500 grant to help send their science experiment to the International Space Station this fall.
Overseen by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program typically gives 300-plus students across a community the ability to design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle and then on the International Space Station. The Butcher Educational Center, which includes the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center, Community High School and North Star Academy, is one of 11 school districts selected nationally to participate in this national science, technology engineering and mathematics initiative.
“What a wonderful opportunity Chrysler has provided to Warren Consolidated Schools’ students through the funding of a real hands-on math and science experiment that will rocket into space and board the International Space Station,” said Mark Supal, an interdisciplinary studies teacher at the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center. “This experience has truly excited students about careers in engineering and technical fields.”
With the funding to cover the cost of sending the experiment into space now secured, more than 500 Butcher Educational Center students will form teams to design experiments. It is anticipated that the students will develop proposals, now through April, for more than 80 experiments. However, only three experiments will be submitted to SSEP for review. Subsequently, a single flight experiment will be selected and ferried to the International Space Station aboard Space X-3 launching from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in September.
“The Chrysler Foundation and Chrysler Group are proud to help these students literally reach for the stars,” said Jody Trapasso, senior vice president for external affairs at Chrysler Group LLC and president of the Chrysler Foundation. “We hope that our support will inspire these students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that are vital to America’s future.”
To further underscore the point, Trapasso cited a recent study by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which forecasts the need for the nation to produce, over the next decade, “… approximately 1 million more college graduates in STEM fields than expected under current assumptions.”
SSEP has facilitated experiments aboard three previous missions to the International Space Station, and on the final two flights of the United States Space Shuttle program since 2010.
Chrysler’s Redstone was the rocket that propelled America’s first suborbital space flights, beginning in May 1961.
The Butcher Educational Center aims for excellence and vision in teaching, learning, and discovering the relationships of mathematics, science, technology, and society. It serves diverse students from both district and consortium schools within Chrysler Group’s plant communities in Warren, Sterling Heights, and Center Line.
More at www.chryslergroupllc.com.