Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors

May 9, 2017
Photograph of team of pilots in cockpit

Team Mission

The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program is aimed to measurably enhance student achievement science learning and STEM engagement in selected school districts via professional development (PD) for teachers and implementation of a standardized curriculum component in classrooms. The PD component will consist of:

  1. STEM content webinars,
  2. asynchronous online astronomy and planetary science content acquisition ;
  3. in-person training regarding curriculum implementation;
  4. a week-long STEM immersion experience at NASA’s science research aircraft facility in Palmdale, California, including participation in research flights on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), and
  5. follow-through involving continuing webinars fostering reflection on program experiences plus connections with astrophysics & planetary science subject matter experts.

Science Focus:  Astrophysics, Planetary Science;


  1. Students of teacher participants
  2. Teachers participants (high school physics, physical science, earth & space science).

Impact on student STEM learning & engagement will be evaluated via a controlled protocol.

What does your team hope to achieve?

Significant increase in student STEM engagement. To be measured via instruments & protocols developed with the help of external evaluator. Data available at end of pilot / research phase:

  1. Student outcome measures: Assessment of learning in relation to California Science Framework / NGSS;
  2. Assessment of interests in STEM, STEM learning, STEM majors, STEM careers;
  3. Teacher views of student engagement & learning;
  4. Documentation of teaching implementation.


Project Web Site

More Science Activation Teams


The Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program gives science teachers a unique opportunity to interact with multiple facets of NASA’s science mission. Not only are these teachers witnessing scientific research first-hand, they're seeing the wide range of professional and technical expertise needed to support that research, from engineering to technology to mathematics. This program inspires teachers with the excitement of frontier science, and it shows students the multitude of career paths within NASA. - D. Backman, AAA PI