Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment



The overarching goals of this program are to exploit NASA’s unique position to provide top-notch training and education and to engage and motivate youth to follow STEM careers while simultaneously increasing public awareness and public support for NASA’s earth science activities and missions. While the ATTREX EPO effort is envisioned as an excellence program that favors quality over quantity, we envision the integration of a science, engineering and aeronautics curriculum that can be easily adapted to target different levels of education and skills.

ATTREX EPO Activities:

  • Outreach to K-12 students and teachers
    The ATTREX EPO team will work with teachers from 2 San Francisco Bay Area high schools, 2 high schools in the local area around Dryden Flight Research Center and one or two high schools at the overseas deployment sites to develop, present and promote a relevant and applicable science curriculum which highlights the diverse science disciplines that make up the ATTREX project.  Teachers will be closely involved in the curriculum content development to ensure it is consistent with required, local learning standards and desired outcomes.  The outreach activity will include multiple dynamic activities such as participative classroom lectures with ATTREX staff, hands-on activities and experiments, science concept demonstrations and direct interactions with scientists (both in class and via webcasts).  The ATTREX outreach will also provide the teachers and students from the San Francisco Bay Area and DFRC area schools the opportunity to participate in a site visit at DFRC during the winter 2013 deployment.  Teachers from each of the participating high schools will select (based on a fair and objective process that will be based on the level of interest and participation of the students) a number of students from their school such that the total number of students, teachers and chaperones from all schools is approximately one hundred.  These site visits will provide the teachers and students the opportunity of experiencing the latest technological frontiers of NASA Airborne Science as it occurs during the field campaign at DFRC.  Teachers and students will be exposed to the many facets of the NASA ATTREX Global Hawk Airborne Science Project including:
    • Overview of NASA's multidisciplinary approach to Earth Science
    • ATTREX science objectives and goals
    • NASA’s Airborne Science Program and the Global Hawk Aircraft
    • Airborne Instrument engineering designs, functions and
    • Airborne Science Project Management and challenges associated with a mission
    • Hands-on activities relevant to ATTREX science
    • The different NASA facilities that support the ATTREX mission such as the Labs, test chambers, Global Hawk Operations Center (GHOC) and the Mobile Global Hawk Control module.

The ATTREX EPO effort will provide teachers with materials to facilitate better student understanding of all science aspects of the ATTREX project.  The envisioned materials include items such as hands-on chemistry and physics demonstration kits (cloud formation in bottles, radiation entrapment and reflection, etc., flight plan objectives and development techniques, aerodynamics and payload layouts referenced to Global Hawk scale models and other items that may be developed to facilitate a more effective transmission of knowledge, ideas and concepts to the students.  One or two of the teachers from the San Francisco Bay Area high schools will be provided the opportunity to participate in a foreign deployment in 2014.  The participating teachers will interact with teachers and students from schools local to the deployment area and assist in the organization of an Open House, coordinate and conduct web broadcasts of ATTREX related science presentations to participating schools (US and abroad) and interact with ATTREX scientists to answer student posed questions.  Local deployment site schools will be contacted during pre-deployment site visits to establish the initial contact between the ATTREX project and the schools.  This initial contact will be used to begin a link between the deployment site schools’ teachers and the teachers in the United States that will be participating in the deployment.  The participating teachers will then interact in advance via telephone and web media with the teachers and classrooms in the deployment area.  Having the American teachers in the field with the ATTREX project will provide an excellent opportunity to work closely with the local teachers, students and the ATTREX team and provide much more effective information exchange and realization of the outreach goals.

  • NASA Public Affairs communications  ATTREX management will work closely with the NASA Public Affairs offices to develop a PAO plan that includes press releases, press kits, web broadcasts, photos and B-roll video broadcasts to be used for media days to be held during the deployment periods in 2013 and 2014.
  • Internet & media interactions  Web-based media will provide the public with information on the ATTREX mission, i.e., background, progress, events, and real time mission tracking.  Content will include information about the investigation, presentations, photos and videos produced during mission execution that highlight the NASA science, people, aircraft and operations.  The ATTREX EPO effort will include website support, development and integration with continuous updates from several media and mission venues including:
    • ATTREX Mission website
    • Live Google Earth tracking of mission flights using the Airborne Science Program COMPASS software
    • On-line, real time scientists and students interactions during deployments
    • Mission progress web logs
    • Mission updates via social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter
    • Informational mission video posting and dissemination through mass video outlets such as NASA TV, news organizations, You Tube, the ATTREX project website, DVDs, etc.
  • Other -- Video documentaries.
    Detailed video documentaries from NASA PAO, Airborne Science Office, and various outlets will be produced and distributed via the web, during presentations and lectures and through other media outlets.  The video documentaries will include introductory informational videos about the Global Hawk aircraft, operations and the ATTREX project that will include interviews with mission scientists regarding science investigation objectives and goals. Videos will be collected at every deployment directed toward an ATTREX summary video to be produced at the end of the project. In order to create effective and engaging educational videos, the video/media production group will have the support and input of the participating teachers.
  • Dissemination of printed materials  Mission information sheets, brochures, stickers, and other mission memorabilia will be produced for dissemination during classroom conducted lectures, conferences, media days, and open houses. For K-12 materials, similarly to the video production, the design of the printed material will be done in coordination with educators and will be modified accordingly for classroom assignments. The printed materials fall into three categories: media, promotional, and educational. Promotional materials are directed to a broad audience, while educational materials are directed specifically to the K-12 student audience.
  • Site Visits,  public Open Houses and Media Day events during field deployments    ATTREX will fund student, teacher and chaperone site visits (transportation and lodging) of DFRC during the 2013 deployment at DFRC.  A group of approximately one hundred students, teachers and chaperones from San Francisco Bay Area schools will be provided with transportation and shared lodging for the site visits.  Schools in the area surrounding DFRC will be provided with transportation for the site visits. The site visits will be conducted at DFRC during the 2013 ATTREX deployment at DFRC.  The site visits will include the activities outlined in section 1).   ATTREX will conduct Open House events to connect with areas local to the foreign deployment sites.  The Open House events are public outreach events used to explain and describe the ATTREX mission and its objectives to the communities where the project will have a direct physical presence.  Past mission Open House events have reached as many as 25,000 people –directly and virtually- and have been extremely successful. The Open House consists of a science fair type of venue with displays devoted to the ATTREX fundamental science questions, the mission instruments and their measurement capabilities and how these measurements will address the fundamental science questions, video depictions of ATTREX operations, related science demonstration activities and presentations by ATTREX scientists and staff. The ATTREX management team will actively seek the participation of local schools and communities for the Open House events.  The Open House events will also be made available to students in the US via interactive, online social media outlets.  Additionally, during the deployment with the American teachers, who will serve as the main link between the ATTREX project, scientists, and participating schools both in the host country and the United States.  Costs for the Open House events include reusable canvas prints/posters, easels, DVD players, projectors, video monitors, public address equipment, pedestrian/traffic control items (i.e., barriers, stanchions, plastic caution tape, road signs) and other such items as will be needed to support the events.  ATTREX will conduct Media Days and Open Houses during the ATTREX foreign deployments.  The ATTREX Team Management will establish local contacts that will be used to publicize the Media Day and Open House events.  During the 2013 deployment a media day will be conducted at DFRC.  The ATTREX Team Management will work with the DFRC Public Affairs Office to publicize the Media Day.


Lead Organizations

Ames Research Center (ARC) 




  • BAER Institute: Support for several project related events including activities, events, products and general support.
  • Aero Institute: Teacher workshop, educational content based on ATTREX science.





Effectiveness and Impact

Evaluation findings and impact statements:
Evaluation of formal activities will be done during the teacher/educator workshop by the Aero Institute. Non-formal activities are tracked by ATTREX EPO management and they tracking the participation and interaction of the public with ATTREX activities through social media outlets.

The project also keeps track of participants and interactions with students and teachers either directly (live presentations and demonstrations at schools), or indirectly during flights and chat interaction with ATTREX personnel.

Direct participation: 746 students. Positive feedback on post surveys (by teachers). Indirect participation (chat during missions): 581 students, 14 teachers