The NASTAR Center National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center Mon, 27 Apr 2015 20:01:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Fifty Years Ago – the First Space Walks Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:28:06 +0000 Read More]]>

Ed_White performs first U.S. spacewalk
Fifty years ago Soviet Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and American Astronaut Edward H. White II performed the first extravehicular activities (EVAs), which are more popularly known as space walks. Leonov’s EVA, on March 18, 1965, lasted 12 minutes; White spent 23 minutes outside Gemini 4 on June 3, 1965. However tentative these initial forays outside the protective confines of a pressurized spacecraft may have been, they were the first steps towards establishing EVAs as necessary techniques for exploring and working in space.
Leonov carried a 45-minute oxygen supply in a backpack. The Voskhod spacecraft was a modified Vostok. The electronics inside the Voskhod were air cooled so Leonov could not depressurize the cabin for his EVA. He had to exit the Voskhod through an inflatable airlock attached to the side of the spacecraft. Leonov emerged from the airlock over north-central Africa. For the next 12 minutes he floated alongside Voskhod before crawling back into the airlock over eastern Siberia. When he first tried to get back into the airlock, Leonov discovered his space suit had inflated to such a degree that he almost wouldn’t fit through the hatch. He reduced the pressure in his suit twice, even to the point of risking decompression sickness, before he could climb back in. Leonov then had to turn around inside the airlock so he could close the outside hatch. By the time he managed to rejoin his crewmate Pavel Belyayev inside Voskhod 2, he was sweating profusely and was nearing exhaustion.
Two and a half months later, NASA was ready to try an EVA on the second piloted Gemini flight. The second piloted flight, Gemini 4, was crewed by James McDivitt and Edward H. White II. Rather than using a backpack like Leonov, American astronaut Ed White’s oxygen came from the spacecraft through a 25-foot umbilical. White carried a small Hand Held Maneuvering Unit (HHMU). The HHMU comprised two small oxygen bottles attached to a handle with three thruster nozzles. Squeezing the handle released pressurized oxygen through the nozzles to propel White forward or backward. He had enough oxygen in the HHMU to effect a total velocity change of six feet per second.
White opened the hatch and emerged from Gemini 4 over the Pacific Ocean, near Hawaii. He exhausted the gas in the HHMU after only three minutes. He continued to float alongside the spacecraft, twisting his body and tugging on the umbilical to maneuver. As Gemini 4 approached the Gulf of Mexico, the mission commander James McDivitt ordered White back into the spacecraft. White was having so much fun performing the EVA that he was at first reluctant to return. At last, White climbed back into Gemini 4 and closed the hatch. Later in the 4-day flight, White was supposed to reopen the hatch and dump the umbilical, HHMU, chest pack and other EVA equipment. However, the hatch proved difficult to secure so the astronauts decided to keep it sealed and brought the equipment back to Earth.

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Jeannette Piccard – First Woman to Reach the Stratosphere Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:08:48 +0000 Read More]]>

Jeannette Piccard – First Woman to Reach the Stratosphere
This short article on Jeannette Piccard is being sent in honor of Women’s History Month.
On October 23, 1934, Jeannette Piccard became the first woman to reach the stratosphere. Accompanied by her husband, Dr. Jean Piccard, as scientific observer, she piloted the Century of Progress balloon to an altitude of 57,979 feet. They flew in a spherical gondola that was, in many ways, a precursor for future spacecraft. The gondola, a seven-foot diameter sphere, contained a life support system to sustain them and scientific instruments Jean used to study cosmic radiation.
The balloon had been fabricated for the Century of Progress Chicago International Exposition. Dow Chemical Company built the gondola from a magnesium alloy they called Dowmetal; the Goodyear-Zeppelin Company made the rubberized cotton balloon. Navy Lt. Commander Thomas G. W. Settle and Marine Corps Major Chester Fordney used the balloon and gondola to reach 61,237 feet on November 20, 1933.
Jean Piccard had been instrumental in planning the Century of Progress balloon and he had an agreement that once the Chicago Exposition was done with the aerostat, he would be able to use it himself. Jean was eager to make a flight – his twin brother Auguste had been the first to use a sealed gondola to reach the stratosphere in 1931. Because Jean would be busy tending to the scientific instruments, he needed someone to pilot the balloon. His wife Jeannette earned a balloonist’s license so she could be his pilot. She was the first woman to become a licensed spherical balloon pilot.
A qualified scientist in her own right, Jeannette Piccard had a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College (1918) and a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1919.) While the Piccards were building support for their flight, Henry Ford became interested in the project and let them use hangar space at the Ford Airport at Dearborn, Michigan.
On the morning of October 23, 1934, Jean and Jeannette Piccard set out for the stratosphere. Their pet turtle Fleur de Lys accompanied them as a passenger. A cheer rose from the crowd of spectators when explosive charges severed the restraining ropes. The cheers quickly turned to gasps when the balloon did not rise but stayed within a few feet of the ground, headed towards the trees that bordered the airport. Mrs. Piccard dropped some ballast and the balloon started to climb. It cleared the trees and continued gaining altitude.
Pre-launch predictions called for clear skies. Once aloft, they discovered a solid overcast. As they passed through a layer of clouds, the balloon began swaying from side to side. Standing in the open hatch, Mrs. Piccard nearly fell out of the gondola as she reached for the rope that controlled the vent valve at the top of the balloon. Fortunately she regained her footing, secured the rope, and closed the gondola hatch. Although she wore a parachute, had she fallen, it would likely have had disastrous consequences because they were above Lake Erie at the time. The balloon soon cleared the clouds and broke into bright sunshine.
People on the ground spotted the balloon over Akron and Sandusky, Ohio, but the Piccards could not see through the clouds and couldn’t tell where they were. Depending on how high they reached and how long they remained aloft, there was a risk they could land in the Atlantic Ocean. As it turned out, Jean and Jeannette were still over Ohio when they reached their maximum altitude of 57,979 feet. Jeannette Piccard was the first woman to reach the stratosphere. They could have dropped more ballast in an attempt to set an altitude record, but decided it would be better to try to land rather than risk an ocean landing. Mrs. Piccard opened the hydrogen vent valve and they began their descent.
As the balloon entered the clouds, it cooled and contracted, increasing their rate of descent. Suddenly they were dropping out of control. Jeannette dropped all their ballast in an attempt to regain control over the balloon. They were still falling too fast as she emptied the last bag. She opened the hatch and tossed a battery (that was attached to a parachute) overboard. One of the cosmic ray instruments was shielded with 550 pounds of lead shot, which Jean dropped through a special chute in a desperate attempt to slow their fall.
A heavy layer of fog blocked their view of the ground so they still couldn’t tell what was beneath them. Suddenly there was a break in the clouds and they saw they were headed straight at the roof of a farmhouse. Jeannette managed to clear the structure, bouncing between the house and the nearby barn. The Piccards continued to drift along the ground until the gondola finally settled into the limbs of a large elm tree on a farm near Cadiz, Ohio. A crowd of curiosity seekers soon gathered. When told where they were, Mrs. Piccard laughed and said: “Oh dear, and I had wanted to land on the lawn of the White House.” Someone asked if she would be willing to make such a risky trip again. “Oh, just give me a chance,” was her reply.
Mrs. Piccard subsequently earned a doctorate in education from the University of Minnesota, where her husband became an engineering instructor. One of his graduate students was Robert Gilruth, who headed NASA’s human space flight program from 1958 to 1972. Jean Piccard died in 1963. After his death, Gilruth invited Jeannette to become a consultant for NASA. She moved to Houston and worked for NASA until 1970, when she decided to pursue her other passion – theology – and was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1971. Three years later, she was ordained as an Episcopal Priest in Philadelphia. At the time, this caused a great deal of controversy in the Anglican Church. However, at the General Convention held in Minneapolis in 1976, the Church voted to open the priesthood to women and Jeannette’s ordination was confirmed the following year. By that time, she was back in Minneapolis, having returned in 1975. Jeannette Piccard remained in Minneapolis until her death in 1981.

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A Preview of the NASTAR Center’s Newest Teacher Professional Development Program Fri, 06 Mar 2015 18:50:27 +0000 Read More]]>

NASTAR Center Space Payload Teacher Workshop
Since the Skylab program in the 1970s, students have been able to design and launch experiments into space. The Skylab Student Involvement Program included 19 experiments built by high school students from across the country. Opportunities for student involvement continued through the Space Shuttle program and into the current International Space Station. With the advent of commercial suborbital spaceflights in the near future, opportunities for launching student experiments into space will grow.
The NASTAR Center’s newest Teacher Professional Development program, Space Payloads, will present the history of student space projects, future launch opportunities, and activities that you can incorporate in the classroom to simulate microgravity and research in space. Particular attention will be given to the payload environment aboard upcoming suborbital spaceflight vehicles and programs that allow your students to design and submit experiments for flight.
For enrollment information for this or any of the other NASTAR Teacher Professional Development programs, contact Greg Kennedy at (215) 355-9100, X 1512, or A registration packet may also be downloaded from the NASTAR Center website,

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NASTAR Center Field Trips Thu, 19 Feb 2015 20:06:56 +0000 Read More]]>

Looking for an interesting destination for a school field trip? Bring your class to the NASTAR® Center. Your students will see an altitude chamber, aircraft simulator, ejection seat trainer, spatial disorientation trainer, and high performance human centrifuge. Whenever training or equipment testing is going on, your students will be able to see these devices in action. Students will also see demonstrations of Boyle’s Law of Gases, spatial disorientation, and will be able to try on pieces of flight equipment.
NASTAR Center field trips support the following Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science and Technology and Engineering Education:
Science as Inquiry Standards: all standards
Biological Sciences: Form and Function
Physical Sciences, Chemistry

  • Properties of Matter
  • Structure of Matter

Physical Sciences, Physics

  • Force and Motion
  • Electrical and Magnetic Energy

Technology and Engineering Education

  • Characteristics of Technology
  • Core Concepts of Technology
  • Technology Connections

Technology and Society

  • Effects of Technology
  • Society and Development of Technology
  • Technology and History

Technology and Engineering Design

  • Design Attributes
  • Engineering Design
  • Research and Development, Invention and Innovation

Abilities for a Technological World

  • Applying the Design Process
  • Using and Maintaining Technological Information
  • Assessing Impact of Products and Systems

The Designed World

  • Medical Technologies
  • Transportation Technologies
  • Manufacturing Technologies

For enrollment information, contact Greg Kennedy at (215) 355-9100, X 1512, or A registration packet may also be downloaded from the NASTAR Center website.

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NASTAR Center Will Be Attending the NBAA Regional Forum at Palm Beach International Airport on February 19th Tue, 27 Jan 2015 17:25:32 +0000 Read More]]>

Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) is indisputably the leading cause of fatal airplane crashes and crash-related fatalities nationwide. So problematic is LOCI that the NTSB included it in its 2015 Most Wanted List.
The National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center is going to be attending the NBAA Regional Forum at Palm Beach International Airport on February 19th, and will be available to discuss our Part 135 business aviation focused training programs. We have times available on both February 19th and 20th, but they are filling up fast!
Since 2007 the NASTAR Center has trained thousands of pilots from around the globe using the most advanced simulator technology available. Current doctrine generates pilots who are well trained to fly within the Normal flight envelope. However, pilots need to experience Startle, Surprise and other Stressors, including G-Forces during training in order to be prepared for that once in a lifetime maneuver. Our solution is Upset Prevention and Recovery Training in our G-producing, two-seat full-motion simulator.
Other highly-acclaimed programs offered through the NASTAR Center, including Altitude Awareness and Hypoxia Training, Situational Awareness/Spatial Disorientation and Practical Crew Resource Management (CRM), further address major safety problems in aviation. Once again, all are developed specifically for Part 135 pilots.
Please contact us to schedule a meeting to discuss a customized approach to your training.
Learn more at:

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NASTAR Teacher Professional Development Program Dates for 2015 Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:40:21 +0000 Read More]]>

NASTAR Teacher Professional Development Program Dates for 2015
The NASTAR® Center, a premier commercial space training and research center, will once again host its popular professional development programs for teachers during the summer of 2015. Single-day programs for teachers are Monday – Friday, from 8:15 AM – 4:15 PM. The NASTAR Center is an approved provider of Act 48 professional development hours for Pennsylvania teachers. Out of state participants will receive documentation of attendance at NASTAR Center programs for submission to their local school districts. Each program is worth 8 hours of professional development.
The schedule for 2015 NASTAR Teacher Professional Development programs is as follows:

Funding from the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium is used to support these programs so they are being offered AT NO COST TO TEACHERS. Since 2010, 168 teachers from 13 states have participated in professional development programs at the NASTAR Center. Special pricing for out of town participants has been arranged with a local hotel.
For enrollment information, contact Greg Kennedy at (215) 355-9100, X 1512, or A registration packet may also be downloaded from the NASTAR Center website.

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NASTAR Camp Dates for 2015 Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:15:19 +0000 Read More]]>

The NASTAR® Center, a premier commercial space training and research center, will once again host its popular NASTAR Camp program for students in grades 2 – 12 during the summer of 2015. NASTAR Camp sessions are Monday – Friday, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. The NASTAR Camp curriculum has been structured to be fun while it reinforces the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Science and Technology and Engineering Education. All curricula and activities are age and grade appropriate.
Each week-long session has a particular theme with relevant activities that comprise about half of the program. Students will also assemble and fly balsa gliders, pilot an aircraft simulator, build and launch model rockets, and engage in other perennial favorite activities. The emphasis throughout each week is on hands-on activities and projects that engage students and foster inquiry-based learning to help them better understand science and technology.
Richard A. Leland, President of the NASTAR Center, stated “We are pleased to once again open our doors to students through NASTAR Camp. Our nation faces challenges including the need for additional scientists and engineers to ensure continued economic growth. Our objective with the NASTAR Camps is to inspire young people to pursue technical careers.”
The schedule for NASTAR Camp 2015 is as follows:

The cost for NASTAR Camp is $250.00 per week. For NASTAR Camp enrollment information, please contact Greg Kennedy at (215) 355-9100, X 1512, or A registration packet may also be downloaded from the NASTAR Center website,

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NASTAR Center Recognizes Area Teachers Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:07:21 +0000 Read More]]>

NASTAR Center Recognizes Area Teachers
SOUTHAMPTON, PA, USA, September 15, 2014 – ETC’s (OTC Pink: ETCC) (“ETC” or the “Company”) NASTAR® Center, the premier commercial space training and research center in the world has recognized 12 teachers from area schools as Distinguished Educators. Teachers who attend 40 hours of training and participate in at least one equipment-based activity at the NASTAR Center receive this award.
The 12 teachers who earned this distinction in 2014 are:
Amanda Birnbrauer, Pope John Paul II High School
Jeanne Costello, Our Lady of Calvary School
Sarah Crandall, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School
Ahngelique Davis, Evesham Township Schools, NJ
Eileen Dunkleberger, Our Lady of Calvary School
David Farina, Manheim Township High School
Jaskiran Kaur, Boy’s Latin High School
Jordana Lacy, Abington High School
Susan Macrone, St. Joseph/St. Robert School
Joanne O’Hanlon, St. Agnes Sacred Heart School
Gregory Severino, Our Lady of Calvary School
Joseph Smith, Our Lady of Good Counsel School
Since 2010, 168 teachers from 13 states have attended professional development programs at the NASTAR Center. Of this group, only 45 have earned the Distinguished Educator honor.
In order to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, the NASTAR Center offers professional development programs for teachers. Educators who attend NASTAR Center programs can pilot an aircraft simulator, fly a space launch and reentry in a centrifuge, or make an 8,000-foot ascent in an altitude chamber as they learn hands-on techniques they can apply in their classrooms.
William F. Mitchell, Chairman and CEO of ETC, stated “We are pleased to open the NASTAR Center to teachers for this program. This nation is facing future shortages of skilled engineers and scientists. We hope attendance at NASTAR Center Professional Development classes will help teachers inspire young people to pursue technical careers.”
For information on NASTAR Center Teacher Professional Development Programs, contact Greg Kennedy at (215) 355-9100 x1512, or Information may also be found at the NASTAR Center website.

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ETC’s AeroMedical Training Institute (AMTI) Completes High G and Ejection Training for Ecuadorian Air Force Pilots Fri, 28 Feb 2014 20:09:38 +0000 Read More]]>

High G and Ejection Training for Ecuadorian Air Force Pilots
SOUTHAMPTON, PA, USA, February 28, 2014 – Environmental Tectonics Corporation (OTC Pink: ETCC) (“ETC” or the “Company”) announced today that ETC‘s AeroMedical Training Institute (AMTI) recently completed training of Ecuadorian Air Force Pilots. The Ecuadorian Air Force is responsible for the protection of Ecuador’s airspace as well as participating in many humanitarian and logistic missions into the Amazon-region of the country.
The AMTI provided classroom instruction and practical application training sessions in the subject areas of sustained high G and tactical aviation, and emergency aircraft egress. All practical application training sessions utilized the Authentic Tactical Fighting System (ATFS-400) and Ejection Seat Trainer (EST) which are permanently resident at ETC’s National AeroSpace Training And Research (NASTAR) Center. The squadron of six pilots were successfully trained in a five day period.
The completion of high G training, places the Ecuadorian Air Force as one of the first countries in the world to utilize ATFS-400 technology for combining basic G training with tactical flight training. According to Glenn King, the AMTI’s Director of Training, “Prior to their high G training, the pilots were only capable of sustaining approximately 4 – 5 G’s. Upon completion of training, all pilots were able to successfully employ weapons and score several bandit “kills” while sustaining up to 9 G’s.”
High G Training for Ecuadorian Air Force Pilots
Ken Ginader, ETC’s Director of Business Development for Tactical Flight Training states, “ETC has conducted several tactical training events in the last six years and has noticed most fighter pilots believed they knew how to perform the Anti-G Straining Maneuver (AGSM), but in reality demonstrated otherwise. However, following three days of AMTI training for Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) engagements, every fighter pilot relearned how to perform a proper AGSM. With budgetary constraints resulting in a reduction of flight hours for tactical pilots in most every air force worldwide, it is important, especially from a risk management perspective, that tactical pilots conduct periodic high G training in a tactical flight training event. With the ATFS-400, it is now possible to conduct high G training while performing a tactical fight training event in flight simulation.”
King said, “This type of flight training validates the concept of combining physiology training with tactical flight training to substantially reduce training and operational costs to our customers.”
The AMTI provides state of the art physiology training to clients worldwide, serving the training and research needs of the military and civil aerospace community. AMTI’s training programs are highly modular and flexible and can accommodate a wide range of aerospace training and research requirements.

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Citizen Astronauts Complete Suborbital Scientist Course Training, Evaluating New Medical Technology at NASTAR Center Thu, 05 Sep 2013 18:24:04 +0000 Read More]]>

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa., Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Citizens in Space announced that four astronaut candidates have completed Suborbital Scientist training at the National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center, a premier aviation and space training, research, and education facility aimed at optimizing human performance in extreme environments.
Maureen Adams, Lt. Col. Steve Heck (USAF-ret.), Michael Johnson, and Edward Wright have been selected by Citizens in Space to fly as payload operators on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft.
The four citizen-astronaut candidates completed multiple centrifuge runs during the three-day training course, simulating g-forces that will be encountered during a suborbital spaceflight. They also completed altitude-chamber training at simulated altitudes up to 28,000 feet and a rapid-decompression exercise.
“This physiological training is essential preparation for the functions we will perform during our missions,” Colonel Heck said. “To perform our tasks as payload operators, we must be familiar with every aspect of the flight environment in both normal and emergency situations. I am happy to say that all of our citizen-astronaut candidates completed NASTAR training with flying colors.”
In addition to physiological training, the group conducted an evaluation of advanced biomedical sensors manufactured by Sotera Wireless, Inc. of San Diego. Edward Wright and Michael Johnson evaluated the sensors during four centrifuge runs at up to 6.2g. The evaluation was conducted under the direction of Dr. Ravi Komatireddy, a physician researcher and president of Vital Space. Steve Heck and Maureen Adams helped attach and monitor the sensors.
The ViSi Mobile device from Sotera Wireless is a next-generation, wireless vital-sign monitoring system. “We demonstrated how the ViSi Mobile device might be used in a spaceflight or simulated-spaceflight environment, with no disruption or discomfort for the wearer,” Wright said. “This could open the door for using the device to collect actual data during our future training as well as operational space missions.”
“This was an initial evaluation to determine the feasibility of using the ViSi Mobile device in a high-g environment,” said Dr. Komatireddy. “In the past, the most advanced medical technology came out of the space program and was spun off to the private sector. Today, that process is operating in reverse. Low-cost off-the-shelf technology like the ViSi Mobile allows us to collect data that, in the past, required expensive, custom-built aerospace medical devices.”
In 2012, Dr. Komatireddy and colleague Dr. Paddy Barrett tested the ViSi Mobile device on a Zero-G aircraft flight sponsored by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. During that flight, the device was tested in regimes ranging from 0 to 2 g. The centrifuge provided a much more extreme g-force environment. “We have now tested the ViSi Mobile device through the full range of acceleration environments that will be encountered on a suborbital spaceflight,” Dr. Komatireddy said. “This is an important step toward proving the usability and usefulness of the device for future spaceflight participants.”
Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, has purchased 10 flights on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, which it is making available to the citizen-science community. Citizens in Space plans to fly 100 citizen-science experiments and 10 citizen astronauts as payload operators.
The first five citizen-astronaut candidates have been selected and are currently in training. Greg Kennedy, director of education at NASTAR Center, has been selected as the fifth citizen-astronaut candidate. Due to his prior NASTAR training experience, Kennedy did not participate in this portion of the Citizens in Space training.
For more information on Citizens in Space, visit

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