Thursday, April 26, 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
Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

Parents are buzzing about Pinellas’ newest magnet school

ST. PETERSBURG — If the crowds that showed up for two open houses last week are any indication, the Pinellas County school district may have hit on a recipe that could finally turn around one of its most struggling schools.The two events drew more th...
Published: 04/26/18
Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student 'did what he had to do'

Sheriff: Sunlake SRO who took down student 'did what he had to do'

UPDATE: The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has decided that Cpl. Richard Stackon acted properly in that incident. Sheriff Chris Nocco made that announcement at a Wednesday news conference where he also defended Stackon’s actons.   LAND O...
Published: 04/25/18
Updated: 04/26/18
Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

Hillsborough says its teachers are well-paid; the teachers say it’s not true. Who’s right?

TAMPA — Seeking to show that Hillsborough County school officials waste money that could go to teacher raises, union director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins talked about highly paid administrators. She talked about legal fees paid to outside firms when in-...
Published: 04/25/18
Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

Converting Ridgewood High generates excitement, dismay

NEW PORT RICHEY — Chris Dunning is a bundle of energy as he greets families to Wendell Krinn Technical High School’s first open house.He talks rapid fire about the opportunities to earn college credits and gain career training while also completing a...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Published: 04/25/18
Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

Hillsborough’s Eakins gets high praise for finances, mixed reviews on other issues in his annual School Board evaluations

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins is proud of his record in boosting high school graduation rates and inroads he has made in marketing the nation’s eight largest school district.His seven bosses on the School Board...
Published: 04/25/18
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions. They also said that as a result of his actions, he wil...
Published: 04/24/18
Updated: 04/25/18
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Published: 04/24/18