Author Archives: Leah

Congratulations to UCSD’s TEAM REKK for NASA’s 2016 Micro-g NExT Competition

With support from CaSGC, congratulations to UC San Diego’s Team REKK (UCSD students Richard Valle, Euan Tan, Kristine Khieu, and Kyle Gillespie) for their winning entry, the RECC (Rock Extraction Chipping Container), for NASA ‘s 2016 Micro-g NExT  Competition held at the NASA Johnson Space Bouyancy Laboratory (NBL) in April 2016. Team REKK focused on mining an asteroid and developed a tool capable of safely chipping through regolith and collecting samples from four different sites while preventing cross contamination. Their design proposal was selected in December 2015, and the team was invited to build and test their tool design at NBL. In addition, Team REKK conducts community outreach targeting the under-served youth of San Diego with Space Day 2016 at the San Diego Air and Space Museum as their most recent event held May 14, 2016. At the event, Team REKK taught kids about microgravity conditions though a neutral buoyancy experiment. For more information on Team REKK, please visit their website at:

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Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-g NExT) program challenges undergraduate students to design build, and test a tool or device that addresses an authentic, current space exploration problem. The overall experience includes hands-on engineering design, test operations, and educational/public outreach. Test operations are conducted in the simulated microgravity environment of the NASA Johnson Space Center Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL).

Teams will propose design and prototyping of a tool or simulant identified by NASA engineers as necessary in space exploration missions. Professional NBL divers will test the tools and students will direct the divers from the Test Conductor Room of the NBL facility. For more information , please visit:

2 CaSGC Affiliates are Award Recipients of the NASA USIP Student Flight Research Opportunities

Congratulations to our two affiliates, Sonoma State University and UC San Diego, for each winning  one of the Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Student Flight Research Opportunities.

NASA will award more than $8 million through the competitively selected USIP to 47 teams of undergraduate students to conduct hands-on flight research.

Through the USIP program, NASA seeks to build science, technical, leadership and project skills among undergraduate students by offering them real-world experience in developing and flying science or technology experiments that are relevant to NASA’s missions.

89 proposals were received in response to a joint solicitation from NASA’s Office of Education, working through the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, and the agency’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington. The 47 selected projects will fly on suborbital and orbital vehicle platforms, such as CubeSats, aircraft, sounding rockets, balloons and other commercial platforms. NASA will cover launch and flight costs, and each award has a two-year period of performance. Award amounts depend on the project and range from $50,000 to $200,000.

Congratulations again to Sonoma State University and Dr. Lynn Cominksy for the project entitled, EdgeCube: A 1U Global Monitor for Earth’s Ecosystems, and UC San Diego and Dr. John Kosmatka for the project entitled, Solar-Powered Unmanned Aircraft System for Long-Endurance Enviromental Monitoring.

NASA Press Release, April 6, 2016