Aerospace & Defense

Information Technology


Emerging Capabilities

MUOS Experience Launches STEM Education to New Heights


L to R.   Mary Maddox, Valerie Christou, Robin Barkes, Lauren Case, Robin Hockey, Steve Kirsche

During each school year, science teachers share stories about space shuttles, rockets and satellites in their classrooms to excite students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year, six Lockheed Martin NSTA fellows will inspire students with a new space story – their first-hand experience watching the launch of the U.S. Navy’s second Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite and touring NASA’s Orion Operation and Checkout facility at Kennedy Space Center.

Lockheed Martin’s MUOS-2 satellite launched on Friday, July 19 aboard an Atlas V rocket, and six STEM teachers were there to witness the action at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The teachers—called Lockheed Martin-NSTA Fellows—are part of the 2012-2013 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy that provides novice science teachers with professional development opportunities to strengthen content knowledge to improve teaching and enhance the learning experiences of students.

MUOS Spacecraft Launch Activities
Lockheed Martin-NSTA Fellow Robin Hockey attended the MUOS launch with five other NSTA fellows. Hockey will be teaching eighth grade science and engineering this school year, focusing on modules like gravity and forces of motion. 

“Just having the opportunity to witness the MUOS launch, to be there in person so I can share that experience with my students, was incredible,” said Hockey. “With my ability to tie back lessons to a real-life event like the launch and MUOS mission, my students’ learning will be more engaging and meaningful.  I am so thankful for this opportunity.”

The MUOS spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Navy, vastly improves current secure mobile satellite communications. The system links mobile users to a powerful voice and data system that delivers high speeds and streaming data, similar to consumer smartphone capabilities.

Human Space Flight Exploration
During the human spaceflight focused activity, the teachers were able to see the construction of our nation’s next spacecraft designed to take humans to deep space. They also learned about the Lockheed Martin and NASA sponsored Exploration Design Challenge that their students are eligible to join. 

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. Orion is the nation’s first interplanetary spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit on long-duration, deep-space missions. The missions include destinations such as asteroids, Lagrangian Points, the moon and eventually Mars. Orion’s first unmanned Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) is scheduled for 2014. 

STEM Discussion with Military Space Executives
In addition to watching the MUOS launch and the Orion facility tour, the teachers participated in a private “table-top” discussion breakfast with Mark Valerio, the vice president of Military Space and Iris Bombelyn, the vice president of the MUOS program.  The breakfast discussions included engineering STEM career advice, current industry trends and needed skills for aspiring engineers.

“With 60,000 scientists and engineers working at Lockheed Martin, we see the value of effective STEM education every day, said Mark Valerio, vice president of Military Space. “Lockheed Martin is investing in our nation’s teachers--to help keep STEM education exciting and impactful. The students that these NSTA fellows are reaching will become the scientists and engineers of the future.” 

Lockheed Martin’s Partnership with NSTA
Lockheed Martin has partnered with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to provide early career educators with deep exposure to the newest advancements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and mentoring opportunities from practicing professionals. 

 “Lockheed Martin knows that to prepare students for success in a science and technology-driven workforce, teachers must be provided with opportunities to gain greater exposure and learn themselves,” explained Dr. David Evans, executive director, NSTA.  These types of mentoring and networking relationships between working scientists and science teachers can dramatically improve how science is taught and learned.”

The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA's current membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

Posted July 19, 2013

  • Lockheed Martin has donated $100,000 to the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy, sponsoring 14 fellows in the NSTA Academy and is looking to expand this program in 2013-2014.
  • NSTA's current membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
  • In 2012, Lockheed Martin contributed more than $10 million to support STEM programs and organizations.