Category Archives: News and Announcements

The PI Launchpad: From Science Idea to NASA Mission

Important Dates:

Applications due on NSPIRES: October 4th, 2019

Selections made no later than: October 21st, 2019

Workshop Dates: November 18th-20th, 2019

Workshop Location: University of Arizona Campus, Tucson, AZ

Workshop description:

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in partnership with the University of Arizona and the Heising-Simons Foundation, will host Launchpad to guide participants through turning their science question into a mission concept. Participants will go step-by-step through the process of developing a science case, defining requirements, building a team, securing partnerships, and obtaining support from the home institution. Participants will also have time for networking and personal reflection as they mature their mission concepts.

Are you thinking about developing your first flight mission proposal in the next few years but have no idea where to start? If you are a researcher in any NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) discipline who wants to take your career to the next level but have not yet held a leadership position on mission proposals or large science teams, this is the workshop for you. Join us November 18 – 20, 2019 in Tucson, AZ for Launchpad: an expenses-paid three-day workshop that will teach you the skills to get your mission idea off the ground.

We are interested in broadening the pool of potential NASA space mission PI’s. People with potentially intersecting marginalized identities are strongly encouraged to apply. There is no cost to attend the workshop and travel, meals, and lodging for non-NASA participants will be covered by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

We will select between 35-40 participants from the pool of applicants. For those not selected, we are planning to hold additional Launchpads in 2020 and beyond. Applicants should be currently at US institutions.

More details to come. Please watch for new announcements. 

FAA Challenge – Smart Airport Student Competition

Challenge Background

The FAA is sponsoring the FAA Challenge – Smart Airport Student Competition to recognize students with the ability to demonstrate innovative thinking focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of smart technology in and around the airport environment while enhancing the overall traveling experience.

The FAA is using this competition to:

  • stimulate and advance innovation in aviation research;
  • promote the development of a robust aviation workforce to support a growing and evolving aerospace system;
  • develop a pipeline to fill current and projected shortages via partnerships with academia and industry;
  • and drive a passion for aviation in today’s youth of all ages and backgrounds.

The FAA intends to incentivize university level students at accredited United States-based colleges and universities to think creatively in developing solutions to transportation technology challenges while addressing the human factors aspects of the traveler’s experience, and to share those innovations with the broader community.

The FAA is sponsoring the competition under authority of the FAA Acquisition Management System (AMS), 49 U.S.C. 106(l) and (m).


Submissions: The FAA Challenge competition will begin and submissions will be accepted between September 16, 2019 and 11:59 PM ET January 13, 2020.

Expression of Interest: Teams are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest to compete in this FAA Challenge by 11:59 PM ET October 16, 2019.

Finalist Announcement: A panel of FAA judges will conduct an evaluation and select three finalist teams, which will be announced by March 2020.

Demonstration and Awards: Finalist teams will be invited to New Jersey to demonstrate their concepts in May of 2020. A $25,000 award will be given to the lead university of the winning team

For more information about this Challenge, please contact:

The 2020 RASC-AL Competition

NASA’s RASC-AL Competition is a collegiate-level engineering design challenge that allows students to
 incorporate their coursework into real aerospace design concepts and work together in a team environment. With over a decade of history, the RASC-AL Competition is one of NASA’s longest running and most
student competitions.
The 2020 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Competition is seeking proposals for new concepts that leverage innovations for NASA’s Artemis Moon program and
future human missions to Mars. Submit Proposals by 3/5/2020

Visit our website!

NASA Psyche Inspired Internship 2019

NASA’s Psyche Mission invites full-time, enrolled undergraduate students in any major from universities and community colleges in the U.S. and its territories to apply to become part of this year’s cohort of Psyche Inspired interns. Psyche Inspired is a program that brings undergraduate students together to share the excitement, innovation and scientific and engineering content of NASA’s Psyche mission with the public through artistic and creative works. For more information please click here.

Application Deadline: Aug. 9

Citrus College Hosts Apollo 50th Anniversary Event

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the NASA Apollo 11 launch, CaSGC affiliate Citrus College hosted a rocket launching event on their own campus. More than 40 students from elementary school age to college participated in the event. A total of 62 rockets were launched at exactly 9:32AM which is the same time Apollo 11 was launched in 1969. To view a video of the launch click here. Congratulations to Citrus College on a very successful event!

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars

NCAS gives community college STEM students an authentic NASA experience and encourages them to finish a 2-year degree or transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a NASA-related field or career.


  • U.S. citizenship
  • High school graduate or equivalent and at least 18 years of age
  • Registered at a U.S. community college during the semester of the onsite workshop
  • Concurrent enrollment or completion of 9+ hours of STEM coursework
  • Able to commit to a 5 week online session
  • Internet access

*Please note a non-refundable $35 fee will be collected for the onsite portion to cover materials.  To apply click here

Opportunity in Orbital Debris

STH is structured to be an incubator of commercial entities focused on space-derived technologies and knowledge. The STH vision is based on decades of experience of its founders on all aspects of commercial space and space operations in both the national and international arenas. STH enables entrepreneurs/researchers of space-based or derived technology to create new knowledge and products that have commercial potential on Earth and beyond. We are achieving this by establishing an organizational team that has the expertise and experience in all aspects of space commerce and business development including utilization of:

•    Key private and public organizations and personnel performing space research
•    Space-based laboratory assets (International Space Station and emerging international public and private laboratory assets)
•    Key international space transportation providers
•    Commercial space operations (payload integration and on-orbit operations)
•    Management of Intellectual (IP) Property between private and public partners
•    Private and public investment capital

This will enable space researchers to successfully introduce and validate their technology using space assets or the increasingly sophisticated space environment. The knowledge and products can then be integrated into an innovative and viable revenue generating business that is then marketed globally.

Recently STH has been introduced to a team of researchers that are addressing the ever-increasing problem of space debris. There are thousands of tons of space material orbiting the earth now and increasing every year. An international team tries to measure the debris of 10 centimeters and larger and place it into a useable database. This has stimulated a number of start-up commercial companies to devise ways of removing this debris. Very little has been done to address the large amount of debris that is smaller than ten centimeters in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). STH has been approached by a start-up company that is proposing technology that could attack this problem.  STH is trying to assemble a team of researchers and associated student teams that are studying the space debris problem from both a science and engineering point of view. This has prompted me to contact the Space Grant entities to determine if there are researchers among the 52 Space Grant consortia that are or have been studying the space debris problem.

This AO is specific to Low Earth Orbit and for debris smaller than 10 cm.  The mission is to create a spherical cloud of high molecular weight particles that are launched in a retro-grade orbit.  We would like to determine the interaction physics of the cloud with LEO orbital debris that is smaller than 10 cm.  Proposals will be reviewed by the mission team and fellowships/scholarships will be given to successful proposals (administered by the NSGF).  The AO timeline is as follows:

•    NSGF will issue this announcement letter within the week of April 7, 2019
•    Proposal responses will be due in two weeks (April 25, 2019)
•    Successful proposals will notifyed by the first week of May 2019
•    Proposals should be electronically submitted to:

Dr. Michael Wiskerchen
Space Technology Holdings, LLC

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NASA College Broadcast, April 29, 2019: Save the Date

NASA invites you to participate in a live event for college students discussing The Future of Space. This is an insightful discussion with NASA leadership including Administrator Jim Bridenstine to prepare you as we go Forward to the Moon…to stay. As the next generation of explorers, we need you to make that possible! Mark your calendar for April 29 and come find your place in space! #NASASTEM

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement aims to inspire, excite, and engage educators and students through NASA’s mission to explore ongoing scientific discoveries and discover new engineering achievements. More information will be coming soon.

1.      Organize a watch party at your lead institution / ask affiliates to organize watch parties. (please share your watch party plans with us at this link: And we’d love to collect a headcount with basic feedback from participants later so we can tell NASA if this sort of event is good for our community. We haven’t quite figured out how to capture that.

2.      Ask students who plan to watch the live stream to provide potential questions for astronauts on the ISS. NASA will select about 20 total questions to share with the astronauts in advance so they are prepared for discussion during the livelink section of the event.