Press Release

Science Teachers Take Flight in Zero-Gravity as Part of Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery

By SpaceRef Editor
August 28, 2007
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Program to Inspire Kids to Pursue Math and Science Kicks Off On Aug. 28 With First of 16 Microgravity Flights Scheduled in Eight Cities

High School Musical 2’s Corbin Bleu to Experience Zero Gravity Alongside Teachers On Los Angeles Flight Scheduled for Oct. 8

The Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) Foundation kicked off the second year of its Weightless Flights of Discovery Program today, flying 57 teachers in Dallas, with another 58 scheduled to fly in New Orleans on Aug. 30. These are the first of the flights in eight cities planned as part of the company’s program to inspire the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers — critical areas where the U.S. has fallen behind globally. Flights are also scheduled in New York (Sept. 10), Baltimore (Sept. 12), Washington, D.C. (Sept. 13), Los Angeles (Oct. 8), Colorado Springs, Colo. (Oct. 20), and Newport News, Va. (Nov.16).

Sending the message to students that science is cool and fun, entertainer and actor Corbin Bleu (High School Musical, High School Musical 2, Flight 29 Down, solo album “Another Side”) will join science and math teachers during the program’s flights in Los Angeles. Bleu has long held a strong interest in science, and although accepted to Stanford, has delayed plans to pursue a major in psychology at Pitzer University.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery is an innovative hands-on training program that gives teachers an ‘out-of-this-world’ experience as a way to help them inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Now in its second year, the Weightless Flights of Discovery program is building on its successes in 2006 in an effort to reach even more youngsters, with close to 500 teachers enrolled — more than double that of the previous year. College students aspiring to become science and math teachers are also participating in the program for the first time this year.

Teachers from across the country have been preparing for the zero-gravity flights throughout the summer by attending hands-on workshops and designing experiments they plan to execute while in zero-gravity in order to test Newton’s Laws of Motion. The goal is for teachers to bring their renewed enthusiasm, videotaped in-flight experiments, and first-hand experiences into the classroom and their lesson plans to inspire their students to pursue careers in science and math.

“The need to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. in the areas of engineering and technology for the future remains a very real challenge,” said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation and vice president of Office of Corporate Responsibility for the company. “The pursuit of these areas by our youngsters begins with a passion for science and math. Teachers play a key role in igniting that passion, and it is our goal to provide teachers with the tools and training necessary to inspire the next generation.”

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Editor’s Note: Video, photography and teacher interviews available upon request.


Tom Henson
Northrop Grumman Corporation
(310) 201-3458

Rosalie Hagel / Jennifer Herrera
M. Silver Associates Inc.
(954) 765-3636
(305) 458-4823 (mobile)

SpaceRef staff editor.