MTSE - NASA Mission Tools Suite for Education Video

This resource is a four‑minute video summarizing the NASA Mission Tools Suite for Education (MTSE), a unique web‑based program that connects K‑12 classrooms with NASA Airborne Science Program missions around the world in realtime. MTSE is designed to support core K‑12 classroom science curriculum. It is the educational version of the NASA Mission Tools Suite (MTS), which is used by NASA mission personnel to monitor and assist with realtime decision making during the course of an Airborne Science Program campaign.



Dr. Emily Schaller, NASA Airborne Science Program: Hi! I'm Dr. Emily Schaller. And I'm here at NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Welcome to NASA Airborne. A big part of what NASA does is exploring and studying our planet Earth. 


One of the ways that we do this is with spacecraft looking down at the Earth from orbit. But did you know that we also have a fleet of sophisticated airplanes? We call them flying science laboratories. These airplanes allow us to take an even closer look at the Earth than satellites can.


Some of our airplanes have pilots and scientists onboard. But some don't. Like this Global Hawk Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle behind me, that is currently being used to study hurricanes. The Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, is one many Airborne Science missions that NASA conducts around the world. We study the Earth's oceans, its land, its atmosphere and its ice. Our aircraft fly as far as the North Pole, the South Pole, and everywhere in between. 

All of the NASA scientists, engineers and pilots involved in these airborne science missions need high tech tools to keep track of where the planes are, and to communicate with each other to make decisions about the flights. The system that they use to do this is called the NASA Mission Tools Suite.


Now you can have access to this same system. We call it the Mission Tools Suite for Education, or MTSE. MTSE is a flight following and live text chatting tool.You can watch the locations of our planes on maps as the planes are flying in realtime.You can get answers to your questions about our missions directly from NASA scientists. Pilots. Engineers. Educators. And lots of people behind the scenes, all in realtime. Many different subjects relate to our airborne science missions.

Denise Gregorius, Teacher: Our first theme in reading and science is natural disasters, so it fit right in perfectly and we started with hurricanes.And we are plotting the latitude and longitude of the hurricanes, so that's a social studies concept and a math concept. So really, it's reached all the areas.

Steve Wehlan, Teacher: I have not found anything anywhere close to this particular program.Once you've learned how to use the Mission Tools Suite in your classroom, you can then use it for weather, environmental science. You can talk about geography. You can do math calculations on it with math teachers, calculating the speed, the amount of fuel it would take. You could do social studies studying populations of people that you're overflying. So it's just a really neat experience and it would be easy to put into many other subject areas.

Dr. Emily Schaller, NASA Airborne Science Program: Students from kindergarten to high school can participate. Thousands of students and their teachers have already connected to our missions, right from their own classrooms.

Denise Gregorius, Teacher: We told them right away on the first day of school they'd be tracking real hurricanes that happen this year. And they got very excited. And we put the fifty-two kids in one classroom and we put the chat screen up on the projector, and they just stare at it, waiting, and waiting for your answer.

Steve Wehlan, Teacher: The ability to be able to ask a question in realtime and have the answer back sometimes in a matter of seconds is just amazing for the kids. And you can just start talking about something in class and then you'll transpire in realtime as the mission is going on. Kids just love being able to chat with the NASA scientists.

Dr. Emily Schaller, NASA Airborne Science Program: The Mission Tools Suite for Education directly connects students to NASA Airborne Science Program research missions all around the world, and throughout the year. We take you virtually onboard our flights. Inside our control centers, and into our laboratories, all from your own classroom.

To find out more about airborne science missions, and to connect your classroom, visit And contact me, for more information.

Fly with NASA in your classroom. Thanks for joining us on NASA Airborne.