Archive for August, 2012

Space Florida and NanoRacks Announce International Space Station Research Competition

Space Florida International Space Station (ISS) Research Competition

Space Florida, the State’s  spaceport authority and aerospace economic development organization, and NanoRacks, LLC, have announced a partnership to host the Space Florida International Space Station (ISS) Research Competition. As part of this program, NanoRacks will provide up to eight Payload Box Units (NanoLabs) that will fly payloads to the ISS, with scientific research that will be conducted on board the U.S. National Lab. Space Florida will cover the costs of research payload transportation to the ISS for the eight winning applicants.

The Space Florida ISS Research Competition is designed to inspire innovation and enable unique research opportunities and access for customers to the ISS. Breakthroughs in material and life sciences, environmental monitoring, complex drugs and other consumer items enabled by space-based research benefit a broad range of emerging markets for government, commercial and academic customers. Research proposals will be reviewed and judged by an independent and scientifically qualified team, based on commercial viability and overall benefit to mankind.

A preparatory workshop is being hosted by Space Florida and NanoRacks at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa, Florida, on October 5, 2012. At the workshop, the application process, rules and requirements will be detailed. Representatives from NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) – the non-profit manager of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory – will also be present to advise attendees on the launch and research process. Private consultation time may also be requested through NanoRacks. Applicants and workshop attendees must register in advance at:

Completed (Final) Competition Proposals/Papers are due by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on October 31, 2012 via

“This competition will provide a unique incentive to both commercial and academic researchers. Opportunities for competition winners to fly their research to the ISS while interfacing professionally with NanoRacks, NASA and ISS National Lab Manager CASIS is an exciting prospect,” said Frank DiBello, Space Florida President. “We hope to inspire some significant scientific breakthroughs as a result of this competition, and reach the next generation of researchers and an international array of scientists and international companies.”

“The competition will focus the creativity of so many people on space station utilization,” said Jeffrey Manber, Managing Director of NanoRacks LLC, “we are delighted to be part of this exciting contest.”

To register for the competition and to view the rules and regulations, timeline, judges criteria, workshop reservations and technical support details, visit

For NanoRacks information, visit

For other questions about the competition, contact Tony Gannon at 321-730-5301 ext. 230 or via email at

2012-2013 NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative

2012-2013 NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative

NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers.

Once selected, teams design their rockets and payloads throughout the academic year. USLI requires a NASA review of the teams’ preliminary and critical designs. The project also requires flight and launch readiness reviews before the rockets and payloads are approved for launch. Teams complete a Post-Launch Assessment Review to include conclusions from their science or engineering experiment and the overall flight performance. The Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review and Flight Readiness Review are conducted by a panel of scientists and engineers from NASA, NASA contactors and external partners.

NASA’s Student Launch Projects are sponsored by ATK Aerospace Systems. The annual launch event is hosted at Bragg Farms in Toney, Ala., and launch services are provided by the National Association of Rocketry. The 2012-2013 launch will be on April 20, 2013. Proposals are due Aug. 31, 2012.

The Statement of Work and instructions for submitting a proposal can be found on the USLI website at

Questions about this opportunity should be directed to Julie Clift at

National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC)

National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC) An Opportunity for Undergraduates to Participate in a Real World Research Experience

Ask yourself the following questions:

·         Are you looking for a real world design problem?

·         Do you want to participate on an interdisciplinary team?

·         Do you want experience with mechanical components, optics, electronics and software?

·         Are you looking for an independent study or a capstone project?

·         Do you want to travel to the ‘Big Sky’ state?

·         Do you want a chance to win scholarship and travel prizes?

If you answered yes to these questions then this competition is for you! Get your team of 3 to 6 students together and register today.

The yearly National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition (NSSSC) is Montana Space Grant Consortium’s Education and Public Outreach (EP/O) Program for NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) mission. A Spectrograph is an instrument used to measure properties of light over a specific portion of the electromagnetic spectrum by separating the incoming light into its characteristic frequencies of wavelengths (spectrum).  Spectrographs have a wide range of complexity from simple grating or prisms to the cutting edge IRIS spectrograph.

The NSSSC provides students from across the country the opportunity to work as part of an undergraduate interdisciplinary team to design, build and test a ground based solar spectrograph. Over the course of nine months, teams come up with their own science goals and then build an instrument to collect data in support of their goals. Teams then travel to Bozeman, MT to demonstrate their instruments and present their results in a competitive science fair environment. There are four judged categories:  best build, best design, best science and best presentation.  Each student on the winning teams receives a scholarship award of $3,000 and a travel award to a NASA launch.

College students interested in designing a spectrograph can now register for the 2012-2013 competition.  Build awards of $2,000 per team are available for teams that register by Sept. 30.

Comments about the NSSSC:

“NASA is in a unique position to use scientific space missions like IRIS to foster student interest in science and engineering,” said Diane DeTroye, of NASA’s education office in Washington, D.C. “Giving students a chance to get hands-on experience often encourages them to pursue and continue STEM studies. This helps build an important pipeline of talent for future NASA missions.”

“The concept of having undergraduates design, build and test a scientific instrument is certainly unique as far as I know. This is a marvelous opportunity for young people to develop high level skills in instrument building.  Using the instrument to answer science questions makes it even better.  I commend and thank you for this wonderful experience.  All of us will learn so much as we successfully complete this project.  NSSSC provides participating students a better chance for admission to the graduate school of their choice.  Also, they will receive better fellowships when they are accepted to graduate school.  It will give some of them a direction for their career.  I know of no other opportunity to engage in instrument design and application.”  – Edmond Wilson, Faculty Advisor Harding University

“The opportunity to work on a real project has been a true motivation for our students who can feel isolated at a small school with no significant research going on.” – Jim Boger, Faculty Advisor Flat Head Valley Community College

The 2012-2013 Final Competition Dates are May 15-18, 2013 in Bozeman, MT.  Any questions please contact Randy Larimer at or 406-994-6085

Registration and more information is available at

Social Media Link:


2013 Sagan Fellowships

2013 Sagan Fellowships

The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute announces the 2013 Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and solicits applications for fellowships to begin in the fall of 2013. The application deadline is Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 4 pm PDT.   The Sagan Fellowships will support outstanding recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of the NASA Exoplanet Exploration program. The primary goal of missions within this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars. Sagan Fellowships are joined by two other NASA astrophysics theme-based fellowship programs: the Einstein Fellowship Program which supports the Physics of the Cosmos research, and the Hubble Fellowship Program which supports Cosmic Origins research.

For more information and instructions on applying for the fellowship, please visit


Astrobiology Program Travel Awards

Astrobiology Program Travel Awards

The Astrobiology Program Travel Awards Program offers research-related travel support for undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Applicants are encouraged to use these resources to circulate among two or more laboratories supported by the NASA Astrobiology Program (ASTEP, ASTID, Exobiology and Evolutionary Biology or the NAI), however any travel that is critical for the applicant’s research will be considered.

Travelers must be formally affiliated with a U.S. institution. Requests are limited to $5,000, and are accepted with deadlines of April 1 and October 1.

How to Apply

To be considered for an Astrobiology Program Travel Award, please submit the following material to Melissa Kirven-Brooks at


For more information, please visit

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