McCutcheon High School counselor Earl Coleman knows what zero gravity feels like. He is the first public school educator to participate in parabolic (vomit comet) flight with Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor Steven Collicott.
“The flight took off at 7:00 am maneuvering through 25 rounds of 25-30 seconds of zero gravity before landing at 9:30 am. It was a blast,” says Coleman. “Since this was a research flight there were several different groups testing their experiments on the flight. It was a fantastic experience and one that I won't soon forget.”
Coleman is the chapter advisor for the NSBE Jr. Group (National Society Of Black Engineers Group) at McCutcheon. The high school group has participated in virtual activities with the Purdue NSBE chapter and hopes to attract more minority students into STEM-related fields.
In the photo, you can see Coleman holding a canister with the McCutcheon school logo. “That is our capsule with a cylinder on the inside that spins,” explains Coleman. “We wanted to see how the spinning cylinder on the inside would affect the rotation of the outer casing. There were three speeds and the speed was controlled by a TV remote that I had in my pocket. I was a little nervous that the container would get away from me but it didn't float away, it mostly stayed right in front of me.”
Coleman has been a counselor for McCutcheon High School for 10 years and holds a bachelor's degree from Purdue University and a master's degree from Indiana State University.
Coleman says he didn’t get sick on the “vomit comet,” but bumped his head on the ceiling a few times.