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NASA In-Flight Education Downlink

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Holly Harmon


[email protected] 

Metropolitan Arts Institute Selected as Only Arizona School to Participate in 

NASA In-Flight Education Downlink

Students Will Have the Chance to Interact with Crew Aboard the International Space Station 

Phoenix (February 2013) – On Tuesday, February 26 at 10:30 a.m. students from Metropolitan Arts Institute (Metro Arts), a tuition-free, college preparatory, arts charter school in Phoenix will interact with astronauts aboard the International Space Station. As part of its In-flight Education Downlink program, every year, NASA selects less than two-dozen schools across the country to participate in these educational programs. Metro Arts completed a rigorous application and was the only Arizona school and the first arts school ever to be chosen for this rare opportunity. Metro Arts is located in downtown Phoenix at 1700 N. 7th Ave., Floor One, Phoenix, Ariz. 85007. 

Metro Art’s Downlink event will be part of “Destination Station” that is taking place throughout Phoenix from February 21-March 2. Destination Station is NASA's International Space Station Program national awareness campaign that promotes research opportunities, educates communities about activities performed on the International Space Station, and communicates the real and potential impacts of the station on our everyday lives. 

Teaching From Space, in conjunction with NASA Johnson Space Center, facilitates Downlinks to encourage K-12 students to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Metro Arts offers a rigorous integrated academic program, while offering students a culturally diverse curriculum within an environment for self-discovery. While many students pursue arts related careers after Metro Arts, for most students the school broadens their imagination and allows them to further excel in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other fields. 

According to Rebecca Mestek, a Metro Arts science and mathematics teacher, “Metro Arts recently added a senior-level, year-long Physics course to its curriculum. The Downlink is a very special opportunity for the entire student body, and an ideal teaching tool for our science-focused students.” 

While the entire Metro Arts student body will get to watch the Downlink live and benefit from the educational aspects, only 10 to 15 students from Metro Arts will be chosen to ask questions of the astronauts. The students will be given 20 minutes to speak with Commander Kevin Ford, Chris Hadfield, and Tom Marshburn. Students will be able to see the crew via satellite link provided by NASA, and they will speak through a telephone.

Leading up to the event, Mestek and the other Metro Arts teachers are integrating NASA and the Downlink into their classroom work. Academic courses of particular focus include physics, science, mathematics, and humanities. Additionally, Metro Arts is connecting its arts programs to the Downlink. To prepare for the big event, Metro Arts has planned to hold a Space Day on February 22. Students will dress in their best space attire, perform in a space-themed coffeehouse (a bi-monthly lunch-time "talent show" for Metro Arts students), and submit artwork for a “What Would Art Look Like In Space?” contest.

For those interested in watching the Downlink, Metro Arts will be setting up a U-Stream so the community can see the students’ side of the conversation. NASA will be streaming their end for public viewing on NASATV.

About the International Space Station: 

The International Space Station is an internationally-developed research facility located in Earth’s lower orbit. It is the largest space station ever constructed. It serves as a research laboratory where astronauts from around the world conduct experiments in human health and exploration, technology testing for enabling future exploration, research in basic life and physical sciences, and earth and space science.

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