how to astronaut

Lone Star Flight Museum blasts off with new interactive space shuttle experience

Mark Kelly and his astronaut crew training in the simulator, which will move to the Lone Star Flight Museum. Photo by Bill Stafford/NASA

Local fans of all things space will soon get up close and personal to a pivotal training tool for NASA astronauts.

The Lone Star Flight Museum is the new home for NASA’s Space Shuttle Motion Base Simulator. The simulator, a crucial part of astronaut training for 35 years, will transform to an interactive exhibit at the museum.

Fans are invited to watch the simulator, which will leave its current location at Johnson Space Center’s Hangar 276, arrive at the museum facilities and slowly taxi down Ellington Airport taxiway Kilo on Tuesday, April 12 . Those interested should arrive around 10:30 am to greet the simulator before it moves to its permanent location at the museum’s Heritage Hangar.

Following the transport and arrival, the public is invited to view the new simulator exhibit for free from 4 pm to 6 pm. The experience includes the simulator assembly and related artifacts including the trainer’s console and crew procedures, as well as sound and video from the last simulator run of the STS-135 crew in July 2011, according to a press release.

Why is the simulator significant? This Motion Base Simulator was constructed in 1976 to support the Approach and Landing Tests using the Space Shuttle Enterprise and also modified to support future space shuttle missions, per NASA. In January 1979, it was activated to support flight crew training for the STS-1 mission.

Boasting a full-scale replica of the forward flight deck of a space shuttle orbiter, the simulator’s windows projected simulated views during various phases of the flight while motion systems simulated space shuttle movements.

A fixture at Johnson’s Jake Garn Simulation and Training Facility, the simulator prepared astronauts for flights for decades. Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, retired NASA astronaut, aerospace engineering professor at Texas A&M University, and flight museum board member, worked with a team of volunteers to restore the simulator, spending some 5,000 restoration hours doing so, NASA notes.

Notably for Space City fans, NASA’s Johnson Space Center is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

After working with thousands of interns, Allie Danziger of Ampersand Professionals says she's now got a product to upskill and train new hires for employers. Photo courtesy of Ampersand

After seeing success with her internship training and matchmaking platform, Allie Danziger, founder and CEO of Ampersand Professionals, has expanded the concept to include a new hire training service that allows employers to better optimize the onboarding process and have a well-trained new staff member from day one.

In just over a year, Ampersand has worked with over 7,000 professionals through its original concept of upskilling and matching young professionals to internship programs. A few months ago, Danziger and her team expanded to include career development training for students first entering the workforce with the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program. Danziger says it was developing out the platform for this program that proved there was a need for this type of training.

"While we have focused on matching professionals with businesses for paid internships, we recognized a further gap with employers that have their own recruiting/talent acquisition teams, or just their own preferred way of bringing on entry-level talent, and didn’t have a need for our matching platform," Danziger tells InnovationMap. "But, they recognized the benefit of our proven training platform that pre-vets and de-risks their hires, and still wanted access to the training for their own hires."

The new program has evolved from training interns to new hires, so parts of the program that focuses on interviewing or applying for a job have been removed. Instead, the 8.5 hours of training focuses on networking, best practices for working with a manager and team, performance reviews, common software training, and more.

Danziger says usually new hires need the most experienced mentor or manager, but they don't usually get that support — especially when it comes to businesses that don't have their own built-out mentorship or training program.

"Ampersand’s new training product fills that gap — it gives employers of any size any easy solution to provide basic job readiness training to employees, access to our team of dedicated coaches, and a detailed report at the end of their training summarizing how their new hire did in the training and any trends recognized and tips for managing this employee based on what the platform uncovered," she says. "Businesses can also sign up for additional coaching sessions and customize training materials, as an add-on if interested."

The program costs the employer $100 per new employee, and checkout online takes less than a minute. Through both this program and the original internship program, Ampersand is constantly evolving its training content.

"These professionals are going through the same training experience that we have proven out over the last year, and we are constantly adding to based on data we see in the user experience," Danziger says.

Danziger recently joined the Houston Innovators Podcast discuss some of the benchmarks she's met with Ampersand, as well as the importance of investing in Gen Z hires. Listen to that episode below.


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