Anacapa School Space Synthesis Unit review

NASA Astronaut Rick Linnehan was the keynote speaker during the three-day intensive 2013 Synthesis Unit “Space: Where Are We Going” at Anacapa School.

Me, Astronaut Rick Linnehan and Anacapa’s headmaster Gordon Sichi

Each year, the Anacapa School Synthesis Unit provides students with unique opportunities to explore a topic in depth.  Expert speakers make individual 45-minute presentations with time for questions and answers. After three days of presentations, students create research products designed to synthesize the information learned during the presentations.

This year, as the coordinator of the Synthesis Unit on space, I worked with a very capable faculty team to assemble the speaker lineup which consisted of a rich and diverse group of experts from a NASA astronaut who upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit, to experts on propulsion, deep space telescopes, ancient astronomy and the very real human factors of spending an extended time in the solitude of a tiny spacecraft.

To cap off the experience, thanks to the willingness of the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit and the U.S. Air Force’s 30th Space Wing, the students received both an evening tour of the night sky and lunch at one of just a handfull of real-life space launch facilities.

Later this school year, the Anacapa Near Space Exploration Club (ANSEC) will host a live amateur radio contact with the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Teaching from Space initiative.

Watch the presentation videos on YouTube.

Anacapa students ate their lunch in the shadow of Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg AFB.