Archive for July, 2012

FSGC Affiliate Representative is the new Associate VP for Research and Graduate Programs at ERAU

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s representative to the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, Dr. Michael Hickey, has been selected to be the Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach

NASA FSGC to Support Florida Teams Competing in Lunabotics Competition

The NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium is proud to announce its support of five teams from Florida universities that are competing in the Third Annual Lunabotics Mining Competition. The competition will be held at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex May 21-26, 2012.  This nearly week-long event is designed to promote and retain student interest in fields relating to Science, technology, Engineering and Math, more commonly known as “STEM” fields. The challenge is for students to design and build an excavator, called a Lunabot, which can mine and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms of lunar simulant called BP-1 within 10 minutes.

The first team that the NASA FSGC is assisting during this competition is Florida International University. The team from FIU has dubbed their “Lunabot” Pantera – its primary goal is to achieve an average mining rate of 15.8 kg of simulant per minute or greater. If the team’s entry can accomplish this it will surpass the average accomplished by last year’s winner. Pantera will also observe realistic standards of design in order to better handle actual conditions found on the lunar surface. The FIU team accomplished this by breaking the lunabot down into five primary systems and then these individual subsystems were thoroughly researched and high-quality components were selected to produce the system’s required elements.  

The University of Florida team is concentrating on producing a lunabot that can easily traverse the simulated lunar regolith used in the competition. Similar in composition to the actual thing, this material has stymied its fair share of previous contestants. With potential mobility issues resolved, the UF lunabot will then seek to mine the pseudo lunar regolith as quickly and efficiently as possible. The UF team’s entry will employ a conveyor belt to move the BP-1 out of the way as soon as it is collected it will then be stored in a self-contained housing unit. Designed to be as light as possible, the robot will also be capable of autonomous navigation.

The NASA FSGC will be supporting three other teams from Florida, they are; the University of Miami, Florida State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. There are 44 teams competing in this year’s Lunabotics Competition. Of those, seven originate from Florida.

It is hoped that NASA will benefit from the Lunabotics contest by encouraging the development of innovative lunar excavation concepts from the universities competing. The complexities of the challenge include the abrasive characteristics of the BP-1, the weight and size limitations of the Lunabot, and the ability to autonomously control the Lunabot from a mission control center.  

This year the scoring for the mining category will not be based primarily on the amount of material excavated in the allowed time but instead will require teams to consider a number of design and operation factors such as dust tolerance and projection, communications, vehicle mass, energy/power required, and level of autonomy.

Jason Rhian – Media Coordinator
Phone: 813-235-3983

About the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium:

The Florida Space Grant Consortium is a statewide network of colleges and universities supporting the expansion and diversification of Florida’s space industry through grants, scholarships, and fellowships to students and education. Established in 1989, the NASA FSGC has 20 Affiliates Statewide comprising of 17 Universities & Colleges, the Astronaut Memorial Foundation, Space Florida, KSC, and the Orlando Science Center.

Space Florida Announces Nano-Sat Launch Challenge Logo Design Contest

Tina Lange
Jun 11, 2012

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (June 7, 2012) – Space Florida – the State of Florida’s aerospace economic development agency – has released a call for entries to the community to design a logo for the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge.

The Nano-Sat Launch Challenge is being managed through the Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center (SFSSRC) and will take place in 2013. The purpose of the Challenge is to bring forth innovations in propulsion and other technologies, as well as operations and management relevant to safe, low-cost, small payload delivery systems accessing Low Earth Orbit. These technologies will benefit future launch systems and emerging commercial space capabilities in government, commercial and academic sectors. The Nano-Sat Launch Challenge will support NASA’s Centennial Challenge Program. More information can be found at

Space Florida will keep the community updated on the progression of the contest and submission of the logos via its Facebook Business Page, and an album will host entries to the logo contest. The guidelines for this contest are as follows:

The winner of the logo contest will be announced on the Space Florida Facebook Page by July 13, 2012 and the selected logo will be utilized in all promotional materials tied to the Nano-Sat Launch Challenge. The winner will also be invited to view launches of the Nano-Sat Challenge taking place at KSC.

NASA Announces 2012 Summer Of Innovation Mini-Grants Opportunity

WASHINGTON — NASA is accepting proposals until June 29 for the mini-grants component of the agency’s 2012 Summer of Innovation (SoI) project.

Proposals may be submitted through the National Space Grant Foundation for NASA-themed content in a variety of programs geared toward middle school students. The foundation is administering the grant program for NASA.

Mini-grants are designed to engage a wide variety of education partners – such as museums, schools or school districts, and youth organizations – to infuse science, technology, engineering and math

(STEM) content in existing summer and after-school student programs.

The maximum award value for each 2012 mini-grant is $2,500.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for a diverse group of organizations to work with NASA and share STEM learning through summer and after-school activities,” said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Even non-traditional providers like church groups and Girl Scout troops can join the NASA team and help us fuel students’ curiosity about exploration.”

In 2011, 180 mini-grants were awarded in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to organizations including museums, non-profit organizations, public schools and youth organizations.

This year, NASA anticipates making approximately 200 awards.

For more information about SoI mini-grant eligibility, timeline and application, visit:

For more information about the Summer of Innovation project, visit:

NASA History Division Fall 2012 Internships

The NASA History Division is seeking undergraduate and graduate students for fall 2012 internships. The History Division maintains archival materials to answer research questions from NASA personnel, journalists, scholars, students at all levels and others from around the world. The division also edits and publishes several books and monographs each year. It maintains a large number of websites on NASA history.

Students of all majors are welcome to apply. While detailed prior knowledge of the aeronautics and space fields is not necessary, a keen interest and some basic familiarity with these topics are needed. Strong research, writing and editing skills are essential. Experience with computers, especially HTML formatting, is a plus.

Intern projects are flexible. Typical projects include handling a wide variety of information requests, editing historical manuscripts, doing research and writing biographical sketches, updating and creating websites, and identifying and captioning photos.

Applications are due June 1, 2012. For more information, visit

If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact Bill Barry at

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