Recently,an air pressurized paper rocket launcher being used by an educator failed. Thislauncher is described in NASA’s Rockets Educator Guide, publicationsEG-2011-11-223-KSC, pp. 86-90 and EG-2008-05-060-KSC, pp. 86-90.

NASAcompleted an engineering investigation into the failure and determined that thelauncher, or design equivalents, should not be used. NASA has removed thelauncher design from its website and its education curriculum. Individuals andorganizations should immediately discontinue use of the launcher published inthe referenced NASA publications.

The point of contact for additionalinformation is James Stofan, Deputy Associate Administrator for EducationIntegration at We request that your organization assist NASA in disseminating thisinformation as widely as possible throughout the education community.


PleaseNote: If you leave a comment, do notinclude a link to your blog or other websites. We typically won’t be able toapprove your comment if you add a URL.

The Laws That Govern NASA

From launching rockets and flying airplanes to understanding masses and orbits or planets, NASA depends on Newton’s Laws of Motion. We have great resources for those who teach physical science. Three DIY Podcast modules include videos and audio with astronauts and NASA experts explaining the laws of motion.

Students can combine clips from Newton’s Laws,Sports Demo, and Rocket Science with their own demonstrations to create a podcast episode explaining the laws of motion.

Below I’ve listed some NASA resources that you can use with your class.

Newton's first law of motion Lunar Nautics: Newton’s Laws of Motion Activities

Navigating by Good Gyrations

Why Do the Planets Go Around the Sun?
A Short Introduction to Black Holes

The Spinning World of Spacecraft Reaction Wheels (PDF)

Fundamental Aeronautics Program: Newton’s Laws for Students

“From Stargazers to Starships” Site:

Newton and his Laws

Mass Measurements Aboard Space Station Skylab
Comparing Masses Without the Use of Gravity

Newton’s Second Law

Newton’s Third Law
Work Against an Electric Force: The Van de Graaff Generator

Motion in a Circle

Newton’s Theory of “Universal Gravitation”

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Rocketry Website

We have your rocketry needs wrapped up in one place. Have you seen NASA Education’s Rocketry website? Here’s a list straight from the source.
Rocketry Education website
Things you can do on this site:

   • Answer the question: What is a rocket?
   • Investigate and learn about rockets at NASA.
   • Learn the terms that the rocket scientists use.
   • Visit the Rocketry Image Gallery.
   • Read about the careers of rocketry experts.
   • Learn about the history of rocketry.
   • Check out lesson plans for your classroom.
   • Stay up-to-date with information about NASA-supported rocketry competitions.
   • Watch and download video and multimedia features about rocketry.
   • Browse NASA websites for information about rocketry.

    For students, the site features the interactive How Do Rockets Stack Up? in which students can compare model rockets to the real thing. The site also has an image gallery with more than 50 rocket-related images. The multimedia section has links to more images, interactive pages, videos, animations and podcasts.

    For you the teacher, the site has lesson plans, a career corner in which scientists and engineers talk about their career paths in the field of rocketry and their work at NASA, a page of opportunities for participation, and a link to related sites.

    Students will find information and media that they can use to create a first-rate podcast.

    Rocketry Education website
    Rocket Science DIY Podcast topic module
    DIY Podcast Home

    It IS Rocket Science

    Our newest Do-It-Yourself Podcast topic module features a launch vehicle systems analyst, aka rocket scientist. Tristan Curry explains the concepts behind launching a rocket. Besides explaining the importance of the basic parts of a rocket, she also explains scientific principles in relation to a rocket. Your students can incorporate clips of Curry explaining Newton’s laws, gravity, thrust and safety. Education specialist Fred Kepner also explains how to find the center of gravity and center of pressure on a rocket and why those points are important to a rocket’s stability.

    Although NASA applies these science concepts in building and launching rockets, the same principles apply to model rockets.

    Rocket ScienceThe module includes 34 video clips and 10 audio clips. The video clips include footage from space shuttle, Atlas V, and Delta II launches and animations. We’ve also included historical footage of the Saturn V, German rocket launches from the 1940s, and newsreel footage of workers assembling Redstone missiles.

    Students can shoot video of themselves building a rocket to mix with the rocket scientist explaining the science.

    The Rocket Science module also includes links to images and other resources to support student creativity in building a podcast.

    Rocket Science module

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    Rocket Resources for Teachers

    NASA knows rockets. And NASA has educator guides that include lesson plans about rockets. These educator guides may come in handy if your class creates their own podcasts using the DIY Podcast Rocket Evolution topic module.

    The Rockets Educator Guide contains new and updated lessons and activities from the original Rockets Educator Guide published in 2003. The Adventures in Rocket Science Educator Guide is especially for informal education venues, with 25 activities for educators and students.

    The Engineering Design Challenges: Spacecraft Structures Educator Guide challenges students to think about how a rocket should be strong, yet lightweight. Students build and test a launch structure with these qualities. The Engineering Design Challenges: Thermal Protection Systems Educator Guide calls for students to design, build and test a thermal protection system model that can withstand the heat of a propane torch.

    The Lunar Nautics: Designing a Mission to Live and Work on the Moon Educator Guide has 44 activities that engage students in many aspects of planning a mission on the moon — from initial concepts to building rockets and a model of the lunar lander that will explore the moon.

    DIY Podcast Home

    DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

    Finding Apollo and Space Shuttle Photos

    The DIY Podcast Rocket Evolution module includes links to some of NASA’s Apollo and space shuttle images. But, as you might expect, NASA has many photos of the Apollo/Saturn V and the space shuttle. These images are available online in several places.

    The JSC Digital Image Collection from Johnson Space Center in Houston offers most of the Apollo images, early shuttle images and images from other human spaceflight missions. Browse the collection to find images from a specific mission. NASA Images features a timeline at the bottom of the main page that could be helpful as students collect information and multimedia content for their podcasts. Rolling over the timeline causes different NASA missions to pop up. Students may select the mission they want and then narrow their search by selecting from a list of What, Where, Who and When. Students also may use the search box to find images of specific parts of Apollo or the shuttle, such as the J-2 engine or solid rocket boosters.

    Each shuttle mission has its own image gallery. The Space Shuttle Gallery has photos from preflight to postflight and lets you select images associated with a specific mission. Some of the best pictures of the spacecraft are captured during launch and landing, and are available in Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Archives.

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    DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

    New Teacher Resource to Supplement Rocket Evolution

    NASA’s newest educator guide about rockets and rocketry is Ares: Launch and Propulsion. It’s a great resource to supplement lesson planning if your class uses the DIY Podcast Rocket Evolution module to create multimedia projects. This guide focuses on NASA’s Ares launch vehicles and includes the science and history of rockets. The activities call for students to work in teams to investigate one variable at a time in detail by performing tests. By completing these tests, students will learn various aspects involved in launching a rocket. In the assessment, students compete and apply what they have learned about rockets to build a launch vehicle that flies as high as possible.

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    DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

    Education Standards Supported by Rocket Evolution Module

    As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, we’re also looking forward to the flight of our next spacecraft that will replace the shuttle after it retires in 2010. The Constellation Program is in the works to replace the Space Shuttle Program. NASA Education’s new DIY Podcast module, Rocket Evolution, looks at past, present and future NASA rockets. Students can use Apollo and space shuttle video and audio clips along with animation of future spacecraft to show how rockets include technology built on what’s already been learned.

    Student podcasts created with this module will support National Science Education Standards, including:
    •    Abilities of technological design
    •    Understanding about science and technology
    •    Science technology and society

    Student podcasts built using the Rocket Evolution module will also support the International Technology Education Association educational standard: Students will develop an understanding of the relationships among technologies and the connections between technology and other fields of study.

    In addition to audio and video clips, the Rocket Evolution module features information to help students write a podcast script, along with links to related resources and images.

    DIY Podcast Home
    DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

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    Apollo 40th Anniversary Audio and Video Available in DIY Podcast Module

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of humans’ first steps on the moon. NASA’s theme for the 2009 observance is “Celebrate Apollo: Exploring the Moon, Discovering Earth.” This is an opportune time for you and your students to examine one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. And NASA Education’s new DIY Podcast module, Rocket Evolution, puts historic multimedia content at your fingertips. The module provides a collection of Apollo audio and video clips that students can download to create their own podcast. Rocket Evolution considers the influence of the Apollo era on present and future rockets. One example is the Constellation Program’s plans to use a derivative of the Apollo J-2 engine as America prepares to go back to the moon and on to Mars.

    You’ll find a lot of helpful information and multimedia content about the Apollo Program through the DIY Podcast, but that’s just the beginning. A NASA Web section dedicated to the Apollo 40th Anniversary is loaded with multimedia galleries, a First Footprints toolkit and historical information that will enhance your students’ podcasts.

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    DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

    New DIY Podcast Topic Module: Rocket Evolution

    Our newest DIY Podcast topic module has considerably more multimedia content than the others. Rocket Evolution covers past, present and future NASA rockets. It gives you a wide variety of content to choose from as your students build their own podcasts. This topic module features 48 video clips and 24 audio clips that students can download to mix with original content. The content runs the gamut from historical footage to beautiful animation, including President Kennedy’s challenge to go to the moon, several launch countdowns, an artist’s concepts of future rockets, and clips with NASA experts talking about rocketry and the Apollo, Space Shuttle and Constellation programs. You’ll find a nice mix of sound bites and B-roll for video podcasts. If you opt for audio podcasts, your students can be creative as they blend their own narration and music with historic audio and expert sound bites. In addition to audio and video clips, the Rocket Evolution module includes links to images and NASA resources, and information to help students write a podcast script about how rockets have evolved.

    DIY Podcast Home
    DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution