We are very fortunate to have great partners. Working collaboratively helps us build on our strengths and share opportunities. Leveraging an opportunity on Wednesday 7 August, some of our senior students reaped the benefits of our partnership with Maple Leaf School, located at the UniSA Mawson Lakes campus at a STEM skills development workshop. Charles “Charlie” Camarda, an American engineer and a NASA astronaut who flew his first mission into space on board the Space Shuttle mission DSTS-114, spoke to students from both institutions about his engineering pedagogical approach to problem solving.
Students were required to brainstorm and test solutions with fixing the real-life engineering issue associated with the Columbia shuttle tragedy in 2003, when the orbiter lost part of its heat shield at launch and, as a result, disintegrated upon re-entry. Students were required to think outside the box and to develop a repair kit and methodology for identifying issues and replacing lost heat-resistant tiles while still in orbit.
Our students came up with some innovative solutions that impressed Charlie. Charlie then showed how the solution came about, and it’s quite remarkable that it was developed literally in a garage, off NASA premises, by a team of engineers and scientists. Charles actually flew in the next shuttle mission two years later to test the fix alongside Australia’s Andy Thomas.
There is no better approach to solving challenges than the famous saying “two heads are better than one” – Thank you to Maple Leaf school who extended the invitation to our College and to Dr Charles “Charlie” Camarda for taking the time to visit and demonstrate how exciting STEM can be!