Press Release

Florida Teachers Soar High to Experience Zero-G!

By SpaceRef Editor
June 24, 2005
Filed under , ,

The Endeavour Academy and Zero Gravity Corporation team up to give Florida teachers a once-in-a-lifetime way to enhance math and science curriculum

The Endeavour Academy today announced it has partnered with Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®) to launch a new program called Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers. Conducted by the Academy and ZERO-G’s Learning Laboratory, which secured additional support from the Florida Space Grant Consortium, the program is the first of its kind in the nation to bring teachers into weightless environments in order to enhance math and science curriculum development.

Under the program, 15 Florida teachers will participate in a 90 to 100-minute flight aboard ZERO-G’s G-FORCE ONE(TM) aircraft, a specially modified Boeing 727. The pilot will perform a series of parabolic maneuvers that will take the aircraft between 24,000 and 34,000 feet in altitude to achieve periods of weightlessness. During these periods, a ZERO-G Learning Laboratory instructor will help the teachers perform experiments, which will be videotaped, enabling the teachers to use it as a visual presentation tool when they return to the classroom and integrate their findings into the curriculum. In all, the teachers will log approximately 10 minutes of weightless time.

“Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers program represents the first flight of educators to fly with our company as part of a curriculum-based team,” said Peter Diamandis, founder and chief executive officer of ZERO-G. “We are thrilled to partner with The Endeavour Academy to help give educators a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they will be able to pass on to their students and inspire within them a new passion for science and technology.”

The inaugural flight of Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers will take place on July 16, the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, near Ft. Lauderdale at the ZERO-G headquarters.

Teachers will prepare for their July 16 mission by participating in a pre-flight workshop from June 25-26 at the NASA-Kennedy Space Center’s Education Resource Center at the Center for Space Education. During the workshop, KSC Education Resource Center personnel will guide teachers through ground training and help them study microgravity in lunar and Martian environments. The teachers will also write curriculum and design their in-flight experiments.

“Florida and the nation are at a point in aerospace history where the significance of teachers demonstrating aerospace concepts and the excitement that science, technology, engineering and mathematics can provide to their students cannot be overstated,” said Michelle Peters, director of The Endeavour Academy. “Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers brings science and the excitement of space to K-12 education. Participating teachers and their students will personally experience the science and technology behind the world of aerospace. We hope this will spark students’ desire to embark on future careers within the aerospace industry.”

The Academy will assess the effectiveness of the program by examining how the teachers creatively integrate the program into their own classroom studies, as well as the extent they pass on their curriculum to fellow educators. In addition, participating teachers can contact The Endeavour Academy or the Microgravity workshop instructors at any time following their flight to receive additional guidance on how to integrate their microgravity experience into curriculum.

“Since not every teacher will get this unique opportunity to study in a microgravity environment, a big part of our goal with Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers is to have teachers share their experience with their colleagues so that we can reach more students and make an even greater impact on their science and math studies,” Peters said.

Teachers were selected by a review committee based on essays that described how they would use the experience to benefit students and other teachers. The 15 teachers selected to participate in the launch of Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers include educators from elementary, junior high and high schools throughout Florida:

  • Dohrianne Baker; St. John Vianney Catholic School; Orange County
  • Ryan Cilsick; Edgewood Junior/Senior High School; Brevard County
  • Rebecca De Lua; Annunciation Catholic School; Duval County
  • Nicole Eggert; English Estates Elementary School; Seminole County
  • Joy Gilder; McIntosh Middle School; Sarasota County
  • Cathy Hardesty; Hill-Gustat Middle School; Highlands County
  • Susan Harris; Hill-Gustat Middle School; Highlands County
  • Deborah Houts; Northeast High School; Broward County
  • Laura Jackson; Woodlawn Beach Middle School; Santa Rosa County
  • Kyle Jeter; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; Broward County
  • Nicole Notz; Whiddon Rogers Education Center; Broward County
  • Donald Profitt; Colonial Ninth Grade Center; Orange County
  • Barbara Rapoza; New River Middle School; Broward County
  • Erin Robinson; Arbor Ridge Elementary; Brevard County
  • Theresa Trawick; Rockledge Montessori School; Brevard County

Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers is being funded through The Endeavour Academy, which contributed $66,000, as well as through $12,500 grant from the Florida Space Grant Consortium. Teachers will receive travel expenses, classroom materials and stipends of $125 per day for four days.

The Academy is already working on a second flight for Florida teachers with ZERO-G. The Academy is a partner in a $1.2 million Math Science Partnership grant in southwest Florida that will give 50 teachers in this region the opportunity to experience the program via a flight on Nov. 5.

“We are continually seeking opportunities to partner with other entities on grants that will enable us to extend this unique form of teacher professional development to even more educators throughout the state,” Peters said.

The Florida’s Zero-G Experience for Teachers marks the inauguration of The ZERO-G Learning Laboratory, which is the first and only private program in the world that can bring teachers and students into microgravity. The company’s ZERO-G Learning Laboratory works with organizations nationwide to develop programs that incorporate weightless flights for educator and students by assisting with concept development and funding. Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®), a privately held space entertainment and tourism company headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is the only one of its kind approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct weightless flights for the public. For more information, visit

The Florida Space Grant Consortium is a NASA-funded, voluntary association of public and private universities and colleges throughout the state that supports the expansion and diversification of Florida’s space industry by providing grants, scholarships and fellowships to students and educators from Florida’s public and private institutes of higher education. For more information, visit

Launched by Florida’s Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA), The Endeavour Academy is a unique teacher professional development organization that offers diverse, hands-on, content-based programs designed and delivered by experts in the subject areas being taught. The courses, which conform to Sunshine State Standards, utilize resources from the space program, high tech industry and research institutions to help school districts improve recruitment, preparation, retention and professional growth of teachers. The Academy receives funding from the United States Department of Education, the State of Florida and through public and private grants. For more information, visit


Griffin Integrated Marketing, Houston
Mary Lynn Fernau, 281-335-0200
Mobile: 713-301-5494


Gwen Griffin, 281-335-0200
Mobile: 281-300-4681

SpaceRef staff editor.