Sunday, June 24, 2018
Education

Embry-Riddle floats new space degree

DAYTONA BEACH — Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is going where no school has gone before, focusing a new bachelor's program on producing a skilled workforce for the final frontier: space.

School officials announced the first-of-its kind program for a Commercial Space Operations bachelor degree recently in Washington, D.C., at the Federal Aviation Administration's 16th annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference.

While companies like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Boeing Co. scramble to supplement NASA's role in space, they will need professionals educated in regulations and certifications required from the FAA and NASA.

Embry-Riddle is stepping up to fill that need with the new undergraduate degree, the first in the world, university officials said. The program would start in the fall pending approval by the university's board in March.

The companies "are going to be hungry," said Richard Heist, chancellor for the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach campus. "They are going to want to hire young, innovative, free-thinking people that graduate from programs such as this who are not afraid to ask the 'why not' question and do what they need to do to take people into space and sub-orbital travel."

While a couple of other schools have master's degrees pertaining to space studies, Embry-Riddle leaders say the degrees don't cater to the emerging commercial space industry.

The new Commercial Space Operations degree will help fill management jobs needed in training personnel and participants who want to fly; flight planning; space policy and laws; and overall operations and safety, including contingency planning if something goes wrong.

Heist said the university was the first with a doctorate in aviation so "it's not at all surprising we will be the first offering this kind of program."

Embry-Riddle is already more than an aviation school, he noted, with its work in engineering, business and human factors, which studies everything from psychology to the effects being in space has on the body. Research is already being conducted pertaining to space and satellite designs and propulsion systems, Heist said.

The new commercial space degree is expected to have 15 students the first year, according to Lance Erickson, the Embry-Riddle professor of applied aviation sciences who created the degree with two students after receiving a grant from NASA.

When the students graduate, many of the companies building space vehicles will be looking to hire them to start their programs and train passengers who plan to go into space.

Virgin Galactic, for example, is already booking tickets for space travel starting at $200,000. Television star Ashton Kutcher was the company's 500th "future astronaut customer," according to the company's website. While details on when flights might occur are more sketchy, the company has said it hopes to carry tourists next year after a test flight later this year.

Embry-Riddle expects to be ready to do its part.

"It's going to start slow," Erickson, who will be the first professor to teach the program, said of the private space venture. "It's not going to be like commercial airliners today where you have hundreds of thousands of passengers flying every day."

One of the students who worked on developing the degree, Rebecca Zgorski, 22, a senior from Baltimore, said the companies were providing feedback on the development of the program because they knew it would benefit them in the future.

Comments
First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

First step for Hillsborough schools facing biggest challenges: Hire more teachers

TAMPA — As chief of diversity for the Hillsborough County School District, Minerva Spanner-Morrow tries to keep her expectations realistic."We want the best of the best and I know that’s very difficult," she told principals last week as they prepared...
Published: 06/23/18
Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

Hernando school officials set to discuss replacement, sever ties after firing Superintendent Lori Romano

BROOKSVILLE — With dust still settling from the Hernando County School Board’s close vote to fire Superintendent Lori Romano — and days before her time as head of the district runs out — school officials and community members seem to be already movin...
Published: 06/20/18
Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

Hernando students score slightly better on state tests

BROOKSVILLE — As schools and districts across the state await their 2018 grades from the Florida Department of Education, the standardized test scores that factor into those ratings and were dropped last week show slight gains in Hernando County.The ...
Published: 06/20/18
Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

Budget analysis projects deficit, deepened by security costs, for Pasco schools in coming year

An early analysis of the Pasco County School District’s 2018-2019 budget projects a deficit of more than a million dollars, with more than half of that coming from a shortfall in funding new school safety requirements.Costs to hire and train 53 new s...
Published: 06/20/18
New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

New dorm still coming to USF St. Petersburg, but in a smaller package

ST. PETERSBURG — Originally pitched as a nine- or 10-story, 550-bed dorm for the overcrowded University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, USF’s latest residence hall project will likely look much different by the time it’s done.For starters, it...
Published: 06/20/18
Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Carlton: From Sun Dome to Beer Stadium: Don’t let suds scare you

Am I missing something in the — pardon the expression — brouhaha over the renaming of the University of South Florida Sun Dome to the Yuengling Center? In trading a college arena’s longtime name for that of a big-name beer brewed ne...
Published: 06/20/18

Hillsborough school district will pursue two kinds of local taxes

TAMPA — Hillsborough County School District officials took an important step Tuesday toward asking the voters to pay higher taxes for schools that, they say, are not getting enough money from the state.The board voted 5-0 to submit a tax referendum r...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

STEM camp beats the summer doldrums for some Pasco students

DADE CITY —Just a few weeks into summer vacation, Pasco Middle School student Jade Neal, 14, was back at school, delving into a challenging STEM activity on force in motion, as the theme to Mission Impossible played in the background.The assignment? ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Ethan Hooper steps up with a salute to teachers

Editor’s note: Ethan Hooper wrote today’s column to give Ernest Hooper Father’s Day off.In May, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and I recently secured a job as a first-grade teacher with Orang...
Published: 06/18/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18