Archive for March, 2014

Vincent Scotti Jr.

scotti_vincentMy name is Vincent Scotti Jr. and I have been asked to tell you about my story and the journey, which was encouraged and made possible by the Florida Space Grant Consortium, which has taken me to this place and time.

Video of Vincent Scotti Jr.

It all started, while I was a student at Brevard Community College, I noticed a flyer on the bulletin board. The flyer was from FSGC and was promoting their Northrup Grumman Undergraduate Student Academy Program. This Program was intended to give undergrad students the opportunity to work on a group project building a payload, which included a GPS and a remote camera to send telemetry back to a console manned by the students. This Payload was launch from Kennedy Space Center visitor’s center and was tracked until the Balloon Burst. On the last day of the program, FSGC held a presentation of all the projects FSGC supports, in addition to all the student opportunities at NASA and at Kennedy Space Center here in Florida.

This was the start of my journey of being a motivated, capable and high enthusiastic Student, who wanted to work for NASA someday. A few months later, I received a phone call from Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee Ph.D., who is the director of FSGC. The reason for the phone call was to see if I was interested in giving a speech in front of a 1,000 people and on national Television to give a student’s perspective on why we should save the Manned Space Program provided by the Space Shuttle here at Kennedy Space Center. After the Speech, I received another call asking me, if I would like to attend President Obama’s Speech here at Kennedy Space center in March, 2010. It seems I was one of nine students from Florida picked by the White House to attend President Obama’s Speech. This allowed me to meet Buzz Aldrin, A real national Hero for being the second Man to walk on the Moon and to allow me to shake hands with the Commander in Chief Himself, President Barack Obama.

These are some of the reasons, why I was so motivated to work for NASA, I then applied to many internship programs and I was chosen by NASA to be a spring intern in their Undergraduate Student Research Program. For my internship in this program, I was placed in the Kennedy Space Center IT Security Office. This was fate and my background giving me an opportunity of a lifetime. I was placed in an internship, which was to prepare me for my chosen field of Information Assurance/Cyber Security.

I excelled at this internship and because of my performance in carrying a full course load n school, graduating with Two Degrees and my internship duties; I was awarded a summer internship in the same position as the spring internship continuing my training. The process to extend my internship was not traditional, so FSGC helped the IT Business office find a way to make the internship possible by paying me through the FSGC intern program.
While at Kennedy Space Center, I was notified of being one of 20 undergrad students from across the country, who was awarded the NASA Undergraduate Aerospace Scholarship. This scholarship went a long way to funding my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology. While at Florida Tech, I was part of two senior design teams, which competed in the NASA Lunabotics Competition at Kennedy Space Center. The first year I supported the Team as a junior helping the team get the Lunabot ready for Competition. That year the Lunabot was awarded the Senior Design, Best in Senior Design Showcase Award from Florida Tech.

The second year, I was Project/Team Lead, Where I put together a wide range of talented student to build this year’s Senior design project Lunabot to compete at the 2012 NASA Lunabotics Competition. The senior design program encourages students to go out and raise the funding for their projects. I contacted FSGC and they were a major source of funding for our project that year. It enabled us to win runner up in the Florida Tech Senior Design Showcase and to place 5th out of 50 teams from around the world, while at the same time winning the NASA Lunabotics Team Spirit Award.

All these accomplishments and my Academic achievements has enabled me to be asked by FSGC to be the NASA/FSCG Student Ambassador to Florida Tech. While I was a Florida Tech Ambassador, I went to Brevard Community College and gave presentations on the merits of FSGC and the student programs they offer to students. I also gave presentations to fellow students at Florida Tech to inform them of the programs at FSGC, which include funding Student senior design projects, internships, space and aerospace student projects.
I have always believed in leading by example, my professors and fellow students always ask me why I work so hard. I explain to them, nothing worthwhile is free; you have to work for what you want in life. Because of my work ethic, determination and drive, I am taking a full course load and I will be graduating from Florida Tech with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering in May, 2014.

I was offered a position in the IT Security office at Kennedy Space Center, so again I am taking a full course load to graduate, while at the same time working in the NASA IT Security office at Kennedy Space Center. Lastly, I was just notified that I was selected to be awarded the Outstanding Senior Award for academic excellence in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology.

So as you can see, hard work, determination and taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves can go a long way to fulfilling your dreams and making you successful in life. The Florida Space Grant Consortium was a big part of making my journey a success and providing me with access to the opportunities, which can give you a step up in life.

Vincent Scotti Jr.
Florida Institute of Technology
NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium
IT Security Specialist II

PocketQube 1.0 Workshop – Cape Canaveral, Fl May 13-14, 2014




PocketQube 1.0 Workshop

Kentucky Space and Space Tango are organizing and sponsoring a workshop on PocketQube™ (PQ) class satellite (measuring 5cmx5cmx15cm and weighing just under one pound) at Cape Canaveral, FL on May 13-14, 2014.

At this workshop you will interact with the actual individuals that designed, built, launched and now perform the ground ops for the first successful PQ satellite now in orbit. You will not only receive details about the design and development of your PQ-class satellite but also meet with the people who can facilitate all of  the aspects of your PQ mission. The Florida workshop is co-sponsored by NASA Kentucky and NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC). There is a registration fee of $75 for students and $125 for others. FSGC will only pay the registrations costs  for 10 students enrolled in a Florida College or University. FSGC will not pay for any travel or accommodations. If any student is interested in attending the workshop, please email a 1 page CV to by  April 2, 2014. FSGC will inform the 10 selected students by April 4, 2014. These 10 students can then register for the workshop but do not have to pay for the registration.

For details on the workshop, please go




The International Space Apps Challenge – Kennedy Space Center April 12-13, 2014

Do you have a passion for space exploration? Would you like to collaborate with others and apply your unique skill set to solving challenges focused on improving life in space and here on Earth? Would you like to see what it’s like to work beside NASA scientists and engineers? If so, join us for the International Space Apps Challenge at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) April 12-13!
The International Space Apps Challenge is a two-day development marathon sponsored by NASA. It is a platform for people interested in space exploration to work together on solving global challenges. Participants from all over the world, as well as the International Space Station will join together to solve over 50 challenges focusing on a variety of issues relevant to space exploration. The 2013 event was the world’s largest hackathon with over 9,000 participants!
This is the third year of the International Space Apps Challenge and the second year in which Kennedy Space Center will be hosting a location.  We would love to have you join us at the Center for Space Education at The Astronauts Memorial Foundation, located on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Registration is limited, so sign up today! Visit register.
If you are unable to attend the event at Kennedy Space Center or one of the many other sites around the world, you can still participate! Register as a virtual participant. Connect with other participants from across the globe to solve the challenges. Visit to register
Follow all International Space Apps Challenge activity on Twitter with #SpaceApps and on Tumblr at Follow activity at the KSC location with #SpaceApps #KSC and
To learn more visit
If you have any further questions about the International Space Apps Challenge in general, you can contact the organizers via
If you have further questions about the KSC location in particular, you can contact us at

Success Stories

Stay up to date on the status of our past program participants’ Success Stories.

Nathan Silvernail

Nathan-SilvernailNathan Silvernail currently holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering and a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU).  He has been the lead engineer on eleven reduced gravity flights onboard NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft (RGA) where he performed experiments pertaining to the development of on-orbit refueling of spacecraft and the study of fluid slosh dynamics on rotating bodies. He have designed the first working prototype of an advanced on-orbit refueling station that he fabricated using the CNC machines at ERAU and designed and built the prototype’s flight computer in his lab at the university. In 2012, he was one of 12 people worldwide to be awarded the Emerging Space Leaders Grant where he traveled to Naples, Italy to present his work at the International Astronautical Congress. That same year, he started his own engineering company that focuses on related research and development projects for private and government organizations in the aerospace community.

Student Research: Develop and maintain the ability to refuel space systems in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geo-Synchronous Orbit (GSO) so as to further extend the mission capabilities of modern day Commercial Launch Vehicles (CLV’s); such as the Atlas V, Delta IV Heavy, and future Falcon Heavy.

Millstones and Objectives: To achieve the goal of on-orbit refueling, the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the storage and transfer systems that will be required to perform such refueling operations must be advanced. The advancement of the TRL is accomplished through a systematic testing approach that takes the system, or components within the system, through stages of experimental testing that start in the laboratory and end on-orbit. From ground testing in the Fuel Slosh Laboratory at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach, Florida to microgravity testing onboard NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft (RGA), Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and the International Space Station (ISS), a Centaur derived on-orbit refueling system was/will be tested to determine the physical stability of the system and operational viability of an innovative propellant transfer approach that utilizes rotational fluid settling to negate the need for propellant management devices, cryogenic pumps and an active Attitude Control System (ACS).


Currently, Nathan has successfully accomplished the first three phases of this research; including laboratory testing and 8 experimental flights onboard NASA’s RGA with the sub-orbital testing phase scheduled to take place in the 4th quarter of 2013. During this campaign, he has been working with researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Space Systems Lab (SSL) to design and develop test equipment and procedures that would demonstrate the refueling system’s characteristics in “real-time” scenarios onboard the ISS. Supplementary to this investigation, he is working to develop computational models to predict the system’s behavior on-orbit, the models output parameters will be compared to that derived from physical testing to validate the modeling approach and verify the accuracy of the output parameters. The successful completion of the physical testing regime outlined and the computational models will provide an advancement of the propellant transfer component of the on-orbit refueling system’s TRL to level 6; opening the door for further sub-component testing to make on-orbit spacecraft refueling a reality.


In Nathan’s Own Words: During my time as a student, the Florida Space Grant Consortium was a very important influence on my career. Not only did they provide monetary support for my microgravity research projects, but I was awarded a Space Grant Fellowship that paid for the last year of my graduate schooling. Through the various Space Grant meetings I attended, I was able to meet professional engineers that opened doors for my research to advance to greater levels of testing. My main focus, ISS testing of my on-orbit prototype, became possible through discussions with the director of the Space Systems Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; a discussion that was facilitated by the director of the FSGC, Dr. Mukherjee. Dr. Mukherjee provided constant moral support for my many endeavors and was always more than willing to lend a guiding hand in discussions pertaining to advancing my work and working to help secure collaborative efforts with the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS).

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