By Kalwinder Kaur
Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) has been involved in a hectic bi-coastal week that includes screening the Mars landing of "Curiosity" at Pasadena Mission Control and "Shark Byte" demonstration.
As the top House Democratic appropriator for science agencies like NSF and NASA, Fattah conducted a robotics demonstration at the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club with students, followed by hosting presentation to middle school students taking part at Philadelphia Navy Yard’s Greater Philadelphia STEM Summer Science Camp.
Recently, Fattah met the champion Firebirds Team 433 from PA-based Mount Saint Joseph Academy at Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club. Robots playing basketball and soccer were demonstrated by All-girl robotics team. Over 100 individuals from the Boys and Girls Club raced "Jack Jack" and "Shark Byte" using dials across gym floor.
During the FIRST Robotics Competition at the Edward Jones Dome, Fattah declared about the national partnership between the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) on behalf of American Innovation and Mentorship Agreement. As per the AIM agreement, FIRST will provide the Boys and Girls Clubs with mentors and innovative robotics-based programming by 2015.
The collaboration resulted in one of many by the Firebirds. By working with Congress, Fattah will enhance federal capitalization from the Justice Department in youth mentoring and programs with Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Fattah conducted research at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California For viewing landing of Mars rover "Curiosity" from NASA's Mission Control.
Fattah met three private contractor-entrepreneurs of NASA during two subsequent days on the West Coast, where $900 M in contracts were awarded to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) in California and Boeing beyond Seattle, and another contract was given to Sierra Nevada to construct a spacecraft. In addition, Fattah visited Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach to know about NASA's James Webb telescope.