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Base Volunteers Help Make Space Day a Success

Capt. Valerie Avila, GPS Wing, talks to students at Manhattan Beach Middle School about preparing for aeronautical careers during the school’s Space Day, June 12. Nearly ten LAAFB volunteers spoke to students about satellites, rockets and Air Force careers, and moderated a game of “Astro-Jeopardy” while teaching students about space.

Capt. Valerie Avila, GPS Wing, talks to students at Manhattan Beach Middle School about preparing for aeronautical careers during the school’s Space Day, June 12. Nearly ten LAAFB volunteers spoke to students about satellites, rockets and Air Force careers, and moderated a game of “Astro-Jeopardy” while teaching students about space.

Students at the Manhattan Beach Middle School witness a demonstration of how immersing objects in liquid nitrogen changes them during the school’s Space Day, June 12. Nearly ten LAAFB volunteers spoke to students about satellites, rockets and Air Force careers, and moderated a game of “Astro-Jeopardy” while teaching students about space.

Students at the Manhattan Beach Middle School witness a demonstration of how immersing objects in liquid nitrogen changes them during the school’s Space Day, June 12. Nearly ten LAAFB volunteers spoke to students about satellites, rockets and Air Force careers, and moderated a game of “Astro-Jeopardy” while teaching students about space.

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Space might be the final frontier but thanks to volunteers from industry, academia and Los Angeles Air Force Base, students at Manhattan Beach Middle School are now on their way to exploring space. 

Approximately 10 volunteers from the base spoke to students about satellites, rockets and Air Force aerospace careers, and even hosted a game of "Astro-Jeopardy" at the school's Space Day, June 12. 

It's all about bringing the space experience to kids, said Ivor Dawson from the Traveling Space Museum who aims to make school "the coolest place on earth." 

"You can hand a student a book or let them see a movie, or you can give them hands on experience," he said. 

Students were able to get behind the controls of a flight simulator and the BD-5J - the world's smallest jet. The jet was flown by a stunt pilot in the James Bond film, "Octopussy." 

Additionally, students launched bottle rockets, viewed demonstrations and heard about satellite, rockets and aerospace careers from government and industry speakers. Some of the displays included a space lab module, how birds and aircraft fly, the effects liquid nitrogen had on various objects and a space toilet. 

Capt. Valerie Avila, Global Positioning Systems Wing, spoke to groups of students about what she did to prepare for her career - emphasizing the importance of school.
When asked about her experience participating in the event she said it was great and she got a lot out of it. The students got something out of it too. 

Dawson said it's great to see the effects events like Space Day have on students. Many former students have been inspired to go to college or the Air Force Academy and eventually get a job in the aerospace industry. 

The local American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) chapter organized this year's  Manhattan Beach Middle School Space Day.