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Forum:Space Explorers & Workers
Topic:Astronaut Ron Garan's post-NASA career
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"I am thrilled to join a team that embraces the same entrepreneurial spirit that launched the aviation industry and understands that true innovation is not just doing something that already exists better, but doing something completely new that revolutionizes or creates industries," said Garan. "In addition to bringing people to the edge of space for a transformative experience, World View is currently conducting an unprecedented frequency of commercial payload flights to the stratosphere and I'm excited to be on board for this important mission."

Click here to read Ron's blog post on Fragile Oasis.

World View CEO and co-founder Jane Poynter said, "World View mirrors Ron's passions for not only aviation, but also humanitarian efforts. Together, we'll continue to pursue our company's mission of helping humanity through our technology, such as supporting disaster recovery operations."

Currently flying payloads for research, weather and more, World View is opening up unprecedented access to the stratosphere. The company's proprietary balloon technology is used as a satellite orbiting the planet or hovering over a single location for many months, allowing for a myriad of research and commercial applications including, but not limited to:

  • Weather and climate modeling
  • Research such as astronomy, solar physics and atmospheric science
  • Earth observations
  • First Response support
  • Early forest fire detection
  • Agriculture remote sensing
Garan will also work with World View to use innovative flight technology to fly the first passengers to the edge of space, achieving a milestone in spaceflight. Additionally, World View will be jumpstarting the high altitude travel industry and changing voyager's perspective about Earth. Voyagers will be able to experience the paradigm shifting view of the curvature of Earth set against the blackness of space.

Garan continued, "Ever since my first journey to space, I've felt a call to action to help spread a unique perspective of our home, this place we call Earth."

Garan's extensive career includes time as an F-16 instructor pilot at the United States Air Force Fighter Weapons School (U.S. Air Force's Top Gun School) and years serving as an experimental test pilot. Garan was selected as a pilot by NASA in July 2000. During his NASA career, Garan flew on both the U.S. Space Shuttle under the leadership of World View Director of Flight Operations, Mark Kelly, and with the Russians aboard the Soyuz spacecraft.

KSCartistFormer astronaut Ron Garan unveiled new paintings on his Facebook page, revealing an impressive artistic ability.

You can see (and purchase them) here.

Robert PearlmanUniversity of Arizona release
NASA Astronaut Ron Garan to Lead New UA Online Class

Led by NASA astronaut Ron Garan, UA Online's "Orbital Perspective" class aims to increase global access to science education and provide students with the opportunity to present their work to the United Nations.

Ron Garan, a NASA astronaut, has spent 178 days in space, accomplished four spacewalks and logged more than 71 million miles in 2,842 orbits of planet Earth.

And yet, his biggest contribution may not be what he has done in space, but what he is doing back home.

In collaboration with UA Online, the University of Florida and Drexel University, Garan, an affiliate professor in the University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, will teach and lead "The Orbital Perspective," a massive open online course that explores global problems and solutions, all while providing students with the opportunity to present their work to the United Nations.

"Ron's background and work as an astronaut makes him one of the few individuals who can offer such a distinctive perspective on Earth," said Chris Impey, associate dean of UA College of Science. "Best of all, our students will be working with the U.N. to make the world a better place to live in."

Together, students will research, crowdsource and provide their input to create a vision of what the world should look like in 2068. This collective effort will culminate in the Earthrise 2068 project and the drafting of a manifesto that will be presented to the United Nations.

"This is an action course designed to start a global conversation that leads to tangible action," Garan said. "It's special in its ability to create an extraordinary and engaged learning experience that reflects the very best of what online education has to offer."

Such a course is not only innovative but needed in a time when students have limited opportunities to pursue a science degree to meet the high demands of the STEM fields, said Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., vice provost for Digital Learning and Student Engagement and the associate vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

"Few large, research-intensive universities have made an effort to invest heavily in expanding access to their core science program," Del Casino said. "Through course offerings such as 'The Orbital Perspective' and our Online Science Academy, we're providing educational opportunities for Arizona residents and students worldwide that they otherwise wouldn't have."

Beyond increasing student access, the course also is inventive in its unique design, Impey said. Through the use of cutting-edge technology, including live sessions with Garan and collaborative learning tools such as VoiceThread, the course will foster cross-collaborations with multiple universities.

Registration for "The Orbital Perspective" is open. Students interested in taking the course can sign up on Coursera on the corresponding day. To learn more and to watch an introductory video, watch the intro video online.

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