Conference “Space and Man”, Graz (Austria), May 2005.
REMOTE LEARNING SYSTEM USAGE FOR TRAINING OF SPACE-ROCKET INDUSTRY SPECIALISTS
MALITIKOV E.M., Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Chairman of the Intergovernmental CIS Committee on Spreading Knowledge and Adult Education
MENSHIKOV V. A., Doctor of Technical Science, Professor, Corresponding Member of International Academy of Astronautics, Director of R&D Institute of Space Device Engineering – Khrunichev State Research & Production Space Center
S.R. LYSYY, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Deputy Head of Complex of R&D Institute of Space Systems – Khrunichev State Research & Production Space Center Branch
The article is devoted to the possibilities of training specialists of space-rocket industry by means of distance learning. The article deals with the issues concerned with the distance learning system development for rocket and space industry specialists training: the purpose of the system development, the distance learning technologies to be used, the structure and functional tasks of the system and its elements, the current state of the system development and the nearest development perspectives.
The modern stage of the world cosmonautics development is characterized by intensification of integration processes in the field of space exploration. The number of joint space programs increases, more and more countries are involved in space activities. At the same time the demand for highly qualified young specialists and scientists grows naturally. However, on the other hand, the world practice shows a rather complicated personnel situation in the space branch caused by the lack of a proper inflow of young specialists and, as a result, an “aging” of the branch personnel. Besides, discussion of the issues related to knowledge management in space activities in a separate session at the 5th International Space Congress in Vancouver demonstrated that there are problems in transfer of knowledge from one generation of rocket and space technology specialists to the other one. In these circumstances the creation of a global international system of knowledge and education in the field of space activity becomes an extremely important and urgent task.
One of the powerful instruments used in such a system for preparation and retraining of specialists in the field of rocket-space subjects can be distance learning that is getting more and more popular lately.
It should be noted that distance learning has long since attracted attention of both teachers and trainees. At the same time, the so-called distance learning, the capabilities of radio and television have been widely used. However, the main disadvantage of such distance learning is the limited or absent operative feedback between students and teachers. Only the rapid development of computer and telecommunication technologies in recent years has made it possible to eliminate this drawback. It is these technologies provide effective direct and feedback, which is provided both in the organization of educational material, and in communication between teachers and trainees.
Distance learning is designed to solve a significant part of the problems, which in modern socio-economic conditions have taken on a global character due to the fact that traditional forms of education and training models can not meet the needs for educational services, usually concentrated in large cities or training centers, and getting quickly updated modern specialized knowledge, which a limited number of specialists possess.
Taking into account the above mentioned and taking into account the prospects of such form of education and training of specialists, Research Institute of Space Systems – a branch of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center started to create a system of distance learning and training of specialists in rocket and space subjects on the basis of modern information, multimedia and telecommunication technologies.
The purpose of creating the system of distance learning is to enable the students to master educational programs directly at their place of residence or work, to broaden opportunities of getting education in rocket and space specialties for citizens who live far away from big educational centers, to increase the knowledge level of students (schoolchildren, college and university students), to improve employees’ qualification by engaging teachers from leading educational institutions, high-skilled specialists
The system of distance learning and training of specialists on rocket-space subjects which structure is shown on the Fig.1 is a complicated territorially distributed multifunctional system processing, storing and exchanging between its elements diverse educational and scientific information of great volume.
The system being created implements a comprehensive approach to distance learning, providing for the use of different types of distance learning such as: exchange of text files by e-mail (Internet); sending sets (cases) of text, audiovisual and multimedia teaching materials (video disks, video tapes, SB-COM, etc.) for independent study of students while organizing constant interaction with a teacher and other students by distance learning; video classes, video lectures, video lectures, etc.
The actual use of a combination of these types of distance learning depending on the stage of technical equipment of the centers and terminal equipment of remote learning complexes and the capabilities of personal telecommunication means of the trainees.
Taking into account the above-mentioned types of distance learning, the technical means of the system perform the following functions
– transmission of audio and video information in the direction of a teacher to one or a group of trainees, possibly located in different rooms in a certain region, in simplex mode as well as in duplex (interactive) mode with a response to questions (audio and video conferences)
– simultaneous interpretation of audio and video lectures;
– storage in databases and display of digital information (electronic textbooks, reference books, methodological literature, data on teachers and students, tests, grades, etc.), audio and video recordings, slides, etc., on the means of collective and individual (workstations)
– distribution of digital information to trainees (training information, assignments, tests, etc., both circularly (by list) and to individual addresses;
– providing interactive access to the distributed database;
– ensuring that experiments and assignments from remote laboratories can be performed on models and mathematical programs using the center’s databases;
– Providing students with non-symmetrical access via the Internet to the information arrays of the Technical Center;
– Providing classes for groups of students directly at the Technical Center, using all of the information capabilities of the center;
– Providing protection of information from virus attacks, unauthorized attempts to change data, distortion of information, control of the integrity of databases, preventing the reading of paid information without payment, accounting and control of payment for information.
In order to achieve the above objective and implement the above functions, the distance learning system includes:
– main and regional technical centers of distance learning equipped with modern means of storage, presentation, processing and transmission of educational information, which through a telecommunications subsystem conducts interactive learning;
– group terminal complexes;
– personal terminal complexes;
– a telecommunication subsystem that provides communication between all of the complexes.
The Main Technical Center (Fig.2) located at the Khrunichev R&D Institute – a branch of Khrunichev State Research & Production Space Center (Yubileyny, Moscow Oblast) is designed to:
– providing interactive interaction between teachers of Moscow educational institutions (MAI, MGTU, MIREA, MIIGAiK, MATI etc.) and specialists of space industry organizations of Moscow and Moscow region with trainees located in the regions;
– development of video and electronic training courses;
– reproduction and distribution of training materials;
– support of technical means of information storage, cataloguing and updating;
– technical support for regional technical centers.
Regional technical centers should perform similar tasks. At the same time, they must rely on local educational structures.
Group terminal complexes (Fig. 3) located in educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities) are designed for:
– receive information from technical centers and present it in a convenient form for students
– providing interactive interaction between teachers and students.
Fig.3 Group terminal complex.
As for the telecommunication subsystem, here it is supposed to use both terrestrial communication channels, which enable 1P-communication and digital data transfer (ISDN), and fixed-satellite communication means based on VSAT technology.
Creation of the system of distant training of specialists in rocket-technical subjects is a complicated technical, methodical and organizational task which demands respective investments. That is why a multistage approach to its creation is envisaged with a gradual buildup of the technical capabilities of the system as a whole and of its constituent elements.
Possibilities of realization of such approach to creation of the system under consideration are provided by participation of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in various international programs. First of all, it refers to the works with the Republic of Kazakhstan on creation of space communication system “KazSat” and space rocket complex “Baiterek” within the framework of which not only creation of rocket-space products is supposed but also training of specialists of the Republic of Kazakhstan in various rocket-space specialties (Figure 4). For this purpose at the present time in the Research Institute of Space Systems – a branch of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center a technical center is equipped that provides theoretical training of specialists in the ground control system and communication monitoring system for space system “KazSat” using a distance learning, including such types of training as case technology and video seminars in the “point – point” mode. In the nearest future, in order to increase efficiency of the training process for Baiterek space rocket complex operation specialists, it is planned to increase capabilities of the technical center in terms of provision of multipoint video lectures, video lessons and video seminars, variety of video and electronic training courses, creation of data and knowledge banks.
The groundwork created this year will allow not only effectively organize training of specialists under the “Kag8a1” and “Baiterek” programs, but also to develop technologies and methods that are supposed to be used in the system of distance training of specialists and students of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the field of space activity. The creation of this system is stipulated by the Programme “Development of the Space Industry of Kazakhstan for 2005-2007”. At the same time the technical means of the system should provide the performance of all the above functions.
Besides, it is planned to replicate regional technical centers and group terminal complexes of distance learning both in Russia and in other countries (Fig. 5) with simultaneous modernization of the main technical center aimed at expansion of its functionality.
Fig.4 The stage of development of distance learning system for the specialists of the Republic of Kazakhstan in rocket and space fields
Fig.5 Space distance learning university
On the organizational side it should be noted that at present the leadership of our Institute is actively working on creation of distance learning university for rocket and space technology (Fig.6), the main tasks of which should be training and retraining of specialists in educational centers, individual training in different countries with the involvement of teachers and scientists from educational institutions and organizations involved in space activities.
In conclusion it should be noted that the use of distance learning system for rocket and space specialists training will allow:
– to expand the opportunities for different categories of citizens to acquire knowledge in rocket and space subjects;
– to ensure continuous training, retraining, learning and testing of space industry employees via use of up-to-date distance learning technologies
– improve qualification of specialists involved in space activities without discontinuing their principal activity
– reduce the training period for new specialists by means of specialized training programs
– reduce the time for dissemination of knowledge, skills and experience accumulated in the industry;
– reduce the time of training specialists in new technologies;
– reduce the cost of training specialists.
At the same time it is obvious that the efficiency of the system of distance learning for the rocket and space industry specialists will be determined by the degree of the system distribution, possibilities of attracting teachers from higher educational institutions and rocket and space industry companies, quality and variety of educational and methodological materials. On this basis, the Space Systems Research Institute offers mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as:
– design and creation of technical centers and group terminal complexes of distance learning;
– development of electronic educational-methodical materials (lectures, tutorials, tests, etc.)
– organization of lectures and classes using distant learning form with attraction of teachers from higher educational institutions and space-rocket industry organizations located in Moscow and Moscow region
– organization of distance learning in different professions in the field of space activities: design and creation of rocket-and-space equipment, control, testing and operation of space vehicles, dynamics, ballistics and control of spacecrafts motion, etc.