INDIA IN SPACEDr Rajesh Ghangurde
SPACE IS EVERYWHERE. EXPLORE IT
Spacenaut is the fastest growing Collaborative Space R.E.D and Xperential Learning Organization in India with Global Outreach
INSPIRED BY SPACE. DRIVEN BY TECH. POWERED BY KNOWLEDGE
Spacenaut Inc is Indias largest Space Research, Education and Development Company. We work on collaborative space projects that involve Rocketry Research and Indias first private Mission to Moon. We are partners of NASA Museum Alliance and Permanent members of World Science Parliament. Spacenaut is also working on developing Indian Space Alliance, a community for Aerospace Industry
SPACENAUT is providing the immersive experiences to students interested in knowing about space, to the schools interested in giving quality out of school time with special focus on STEM careers and exposure.
In today’s interview, we hear from Dr Rajesh Ghangurde, Director and Head Space Education & Research at SPACENAUT who explains the training programs for schools and how schools can make learning with collaboration more engaging and appealing for their students. NexSchools caught up with him ahead of Space Week 2018
What is the idea behind SPACENAUT?
Well as the name suggests ‘SPACENAUT’ is about humans in space. It's about Why and How of space exploration. The genesis of Spacenaut is at the belief that humans need to be a multi-planetary species in the future to survive and to achieve that we need to build technology that does not exist. We at Spacenaut collaborate on projects like Rocketry research and satellite programs. While we build the platform its also essential to ensure we have next generation of Space Explorers, Space Scientists and Engineers to take India to space. With this came the idea of space education and training programs for students from middle and higher school, the idea is to catch them young and mentor.
What are the different activities/programs for schools?
Spacenaut is not about textbook learning of googling!
We have developed Space Education Programs that are Interactive, Lively and Experiential packet training modules.
We have 3 ways of reaching out students with our space education programs
a) Space Exhibitions and Interschool Space Projects Competition: We organise space science exhibitions at schools, only of its kind in India. We have over 40 scale models of NASA, ESA, JXA, Russia and ISRO rockets and satellites.
b) Space Camp @ your school program: We bring the Spacenaut to your school. We turn your school activity hall into Space Centre and run a one-day space camp. This saves time and cost on travelling out for learning. We have different types of Space Camps based on learning objectives like; Space X Workshop, Space X Camp or as we call it ‘Be an Astronaut for a Day’ camp, Martian Camp, Life in Space Interactive Show.
c) Space Mission Training Experience Programs at Bengaluru: Spacenaut in strategic partnership with Teamindus. It offers never before opportunity to train at India’s first and largest private sector space company. An opportunity to train with a team of real space scientists and engineers, work on the lunar rovers and space crafts that are on its way to Moon! We have 3 major Training programs of One Day, Two Days and a week long Fellowship Program. Click here for the details.
What is the duration of the training programs?
Each Program is different in terms of purpose, target audience, content and activities. As such the duration for all programs is different. Space Camp @ Your School workshops are of one day. Programs at Bengaluru Mission Centre range from 1 day to 1 week
How is this program beneficial for the students from grade 5 onwards?
Spacenaut programs are well designed with validated content and thoughtful implementation. We are Partners of NASA Museum Alliance and our programs conform to International Math and Science standards. Spacenaut programs are every student's first glimpse of exploring space in an exciting participative way. Our programs are zero PPT and total activity based on lots of Hands-on Activities. Students would gain immense knowledge of Space History, Exploration, Basic of Space engineering and Technology and most importantly about how a space mission works.
Do you conduct age-specific programs for students?
Yes, we have modules developed according to the learners' age. Also, our programs are in succession i.e we have Levels 1 to 4. This allows fast learners to progress to the next module without the restriction of age, however, one cannot do more than 2 level programs in a span of a year.
What are your views about STEM learning in Indian schools?
With new age schools and private players, the ground for STEM Education in India is fairly set. There are many organizations and curriculums supporting STEM learning in India however very little is validated and standardized. We need more comprehensive STEM programs and a mechanism to rate the programs by a competent agency. Spacenaut is working on developing such a mechanism. Spacenaut are pioneers of the STEM in SPACE concept in India
As you said real-world space education setting with state of art facility at Bangalore is fully equipped to train students. Please elaborate more about the benefits to students relating space education to the real-world situation?
Training at Mission Centre comes with the advantage of experiencing the making of Real Space Missions. At our training facilities for the first time students get access to space engineering and mission training and command centre, they work hands-on real spacecraft models and rovers. They work on the simulated lunar surface, build, repair handle near real situations. All this helps in better understanding of a Space Mission, challenges and problems encountered in real worldsituations. I always say your school programs are like textbook reading they can't make you a swimmer, most of the STEM programs offered today at schools are like real training that can make a good swimmer out of you. But training at a mission centre is like training to be a Scuba Diver while being at the floor of an ocean! That’s how crucial it is
Do you think the collaboration between schools and organizations can engage and bring better learning outcomes among students in middle and high school level?
Yes indeed. Schools have limitations when it comes to offering real-time training experience in science. Imitations are due to lack of supportive curriculum, space, time and expertise of in house faculty who are groomed to be SME on Textbook curriculum. Having synergy with professional Science organizations bring several advantages like well-researched content, experienced faculties, training kits and gadgets and a well, defined learning process. Space science is all Nuts and Bolts, you need to get into activity-based learning mode
Let us also know more about Space education and careers.
What is Space Science?
Let me begin with clarifying Space Science is not Astronomy! While astronomy is very exciting and a basis for space exploration it is more of an observational science, with little or no experimentation. Space Science is about understanding how the universe works, the origins and the laws governing the working of the universe. It's about how we explore space, developing the technology required to reach out.
What are the different career avenues Space education offers?
The space industry is the fastest growing industry today and promises to be one of the most important sectors for job creation in the future. Space careers include being a space scientist, space engineer, mathematicians and even administrators. There is no specific way to get into space careers. A master in any field of science is an asset for the space industry. There are over 100 different work profiles in a typical space company that include designs, software programmers, engineers, space researchers, scientists and leadership roles.
What is the qualification to enter this field?
For a career in space science, you need to graduate in science and do post graduation in aeronautics, computers or space engineering. There are several universities offering space career programs in India one of them is Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.
What will space exploration look like in future?
To me the future of space exploration will not be just about scientific research and exploration by astronauts but an era of civilian space expedition. Humans in space is the ultimate aim of all efforts being made today. Last millenniums saw humans becoming multi-continental species that spread out to and captured the entire earth, next explosion in evolution will be about going multi-planetary species for survival. Speaking any more on this would sound science fiction.
What are the other upcoming projects of Spacenaut:
We are working on building India’s first private sector space museum and centre for space science at Khopoli near Mumbai. It will have a space museum with exhibits of spacecraft, satellite and rocket models, galaxies museum, hall of fame, history of space exploration and a training centre for conducting space camps. It is expected to start from next academic year.
Dr Rajesh Ghangurde, Director and Head Space Education Research at Spacenaut Inc