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Online APPEL Courses Added to SATERN

The Academy converted three of its most popular courses to an e-learning format and has made them available to NASA employees through the agency’s learning management system.

As part of the its ongoing efforts to make training materials more accessible to the NASA workforce where and when they need it, the Academy is pleased to announce the availability of a series of instructional videos for the Essentials of Astronomy for NASA Engineers, Earth, Moon, and Mars, and Seven Axioms of Good Engineering courses in SATERN. The popularity of these courses in addition to limitations on training and travel across the government have made them ideal candidates for conversion to an online learning format.

“Most engineers don’t have the opportunity to attend these types of courses while earning their undergraduate degrees,” remarked Roger Forsgren, APPEL Director, in a past interview. “These courses allow our employees an opportunity to become more well-rounded and have a better appreciation not only for the universe we live in, but also for their own work in helping to discover and understand it.”

The courses have been offered at NASA since 2010. Essentials of Astronomy for NASA Engineers covers the essentials of the history of science and astronomy, basic observational astronomy, and other topics including the evolution of the solar system and the various spacecraft, telescopes, and instruments used to observe the universe.

“This excellent course gave me an overview of the field and its current challenges,” said a former course participant. “The nature of my work requires me to be able to look across NASA’s science portfolio and have [a broad] understanding of the issues. This course gave me a good feel for both planetary science and astrophysics, as well as a better appreciation for heliophysics—a major portion of NASA science.”

Earth, Moon, and Mars offers engineers an opportunity to learn about how planetary bodies are formed, the kinds of dynamic geologic processes still present today, and theories about their futures. With this knowledge, course participants are able to debate hypotheses about the formation and history of Earth, the moon, and Mars, as well as examine geological conditions human explorers could face as they visit other planetary bodies.

“Learning about Earth’s geologic and climatic processes provided me with a better perspective on the moon and Mars,” explained a former course participant. “This will aid my work of developing design reference missions for human exploration to the moon and Mars, and prioritizing the technological advances required for those missions.”

Finally, Seven Axioms of Good Engineering covers a series of case studies in order to explore the nature of project failure within the context of best practices for good engineering and design. “This course provided me a concise set of generic engineering principles that I can use to reduce the likelihood of negative consequences in the systems I design,” said a former SAGE participant.

The courses are now available to NASA employees through SATERN, NASA’s learning management system, and can be completed at the learner’s desired pace.

The course content is accessible to NASA employees through the links below.

Essentials of Astronomy for NASA Engineers                                                                               

Earth, Moon, and Mars

Seven Axioms of Good Engineering


Dr. Anthony Luscher, instructor for APPEL’s Seven Axioms of Good Engineering course, discusses the Hubble Space Telescope optical failure during class.

Featured Photo Credit: NASA

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