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Wichita School to Establish NASA-Inspired Space Program

NASA, the U.S. space agency, was launched by President Dwight Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene. Kansas has deep roots in space exploration and now, an elementary school in Wichita will carry on the tradition.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Officials say a Wichita elementary school will be the first in the nation to launch a NASA-inspired space program.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the Space Discovery Institute program will give students a hands-on experience with aerospace technology at the Mueller Aerospace and Engineering Discovery Magnet Elementary School. Plans call for the school to receive a NASA-grade lunar rover, Mars rover and a space plane.  The school's principal says the program will be a great opportunity for students, who begin learning basic science, technology, engineering and math concepts in kindergarten.  Four years ago, the school received a $2.1 million federal grant to provide more enhanced science and engineering lessons. That grant funded a flight simulator, weather lab, broadcast studio, teacher training programs, kid-sized lab coats and other equipment.  Kansas has deep roots in the nation's space program.  The state has produced three astronauts and President Dwight Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene, launched the U.S. space program when he created NASA.  And Wichita's neighbor to the northwest, Hutchinson, is home to the Cosmosphere, which has one of the world's largest collections of spacecraft and space artifacts - second only to the Smithsonian.

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