Analytical Graphics, Inc.’s (AGI) Educational Alliance Program donated 20 educational software licenses in early September 2009 to Capitol College, valued at more than $2 million, which provides faculty the opportunity to introduce a new dimension to the astronautical engineering curriculum by giving students hands-on experience with the industry-leading satellite software product.
Used by tens of thousands of aerospace, defense and intelligence professionals for national security and space initiatives, the STK software donated as a gift-in-kind by AGI provides the analytical engine to calculate data and display multiple 2D maps to visualize various space-related objects, allowing the user to manage many aspects of satellite missions including mapping orbits, predicting spacecraft positions, and monitoring fuel consumption.
“This is a great partnership for us, as the ability to teach our students using industry-accepted tools like the STK product suite is invaluable,” said Capitol College president Michael T. Wood. “We would like to thank AGI for their generosity, and look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.”
“It’s truly spectacular that Capitol College is training the next generation of rocket scientists using our products,” said Paul Graziani, AGI CEO. “Capitol College’s curriculum paired with our products makes a powerful combination. We are excited to play a role in the essential work Capitol is doing for the aerospace industry.”
The Educational Alliance Program extends the basic capabilities of STK with advanced analytical and visualization capabilities through a license that includes various software modules and has a commercial value in excess of $100,000 each. STK allows students and instructors to create dynamic, 3D scenarios of complex space-related topics and solve real space analysis problems.
“Our version of STK is specifically for use in education – we use it in our classrooms, such as Astronautical Engineering 401, and can also use it for research and development at the Space Operations Institute,” astronautical engineering professor Angela Walters said. “For example, one Space Operations Institute student has recently used the STK software to create a movie of the TRMM satellite in orbit. The TRMM flight team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center liked it so much that they got AGI’s permission to use the video to show visitors.”
AGI’s Educational Alliance Program package also includes Orbit Determination Tool Kit, which provides orbit determination and orbit analysis support for the entire life cycle of satellite tracking systems, and free access to the self-study STK certification program (a $495 value), developed to provide a method by which individuals with considerable knowledge of STK and the ability to provide support for the software may be recognized.
“What makes this software so valuable is that having it allows students, particularly those at Space Operations Institute, the opportunity to become certified in this industry standard software for free, something that could cost them or their future employers up to $500,” said Dr. Michael G. Gibbs, vice president for advancement and director of Capitol’s Space Science Education and Public Outreach Center. “When our students graduate, they will not only have the skills necessary to hit the ground running in their careers, but they will already have certification in software that they will use everyday on the job. This kind of bonus is exactly in line with our institutional mission of providing a relevant and affordable education.”
AGI’s Educational Alliance Program provides eligible colleges, universities, military training institutions, high schools and nonprofit educational groups with free licensing of AGI products for instructional use. The program currently serves approximately 200 academic institutions and to date AGI has donated more than $1 billion worth of software.
Capitol College is the only independent college in Maryland dedicated to engineering, computer science, information technology and business. Founded in 1927, Capitol is an accredited institution offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as professional development training and certificates, and partnerships with government and industry. Capitol is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The college is located in Laurel, Md., a suburban setting midway between Washington, DC and Baltimore. Capitol is committed to providing a quality education that is technology-driven, accessible, affordable and practical.