Submit your Suborbital Experiment

Become a part of the 2011 NSRC Conference

NSRC 2011 Student Competition, sponsored by Masten Space Systems, welcomes applicants to participate in this year’s student contest. Entries from any Florida undergraduate and graduate university will be accepted. The competition is divided into two categories, i) a proposed experiment to fly in the microgravity environment of a suborbital flight, open to teams and individuals; ii) an essay on the benefits of suborbital spaceflight, which is open to individuals only. Full details are listed below.


The student competition is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students at any 2 or 4-year college or university in the State of Florida. (Valid student ID required.) Category 1 (Experiment proposals) also require identification of a sponsoring Faculty Member.


If you intend to submit an entry into either part of the student contest, please email Constantine Tsang at to indicate a notice of intent, with the name of the institution and preliminary title, as soon as possible.


Suborbital experiment proposals may be presented on disciplines related, but not limited, to:

  • Microgravity
  • Space Life Sciences
  • Technology Payloads
  • Astronomy, Solar Physics, or Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric/Ionospheric/Auroral Science
  • Education/Public Outreach

This category is divided into two sub-divisions; A) fully autonomous experiments without astronaut interaction and B) experiments which require a single astronaut participation. Entries will be judged according to the sub-category in which they are entered. Please indicate the sub-division in which you are in (1A or 1B) when submitting.

Concepts may include hardware, uniquely applicable software, or mission results that serve to advance or broaden the application of suborbital space flight research and education.

All proposed payloads must conform to:

  1. Payload size must not exceed 5 [L] x 3 [W] x 4 [H] feet
  2. Payload weight must not exceed 180 pounds
  3. Payload must be all-inclusive, i.e., provide its own power, data recording, command computer, etc. This can either be fully autonomous or require interaction from one suborbital payload specialist during flight, as defined above.
  4. Payload will not have access to outside atmosphere (except view through a window). If concept requires a window, specification of window material should be mentioned in the proposal. Internal glove box designs are permissible.
  5. Maximum ten flights per experiment, with three to four minutes of microgravity per flight

The proposal can be submitted either by individuals or as teams of any size (individuals may participate on more than one team). The length of the proposal must not exceed 7 single-space pages, 12 point font, which includes any specs, figures and references. Please also include the name and address of a sponsoring Faculty member from your College or University.


An essay which answers the following question:

“What are the future benefits of suborbital flights in 5-10 years time?”

Essays can be written from either technical or non-technical perspectives. They can include topics on education, public outreach, space commerce, law, art, adventure, etc. Essay length must not exceed 1000 words. Only individuals may submit an essay entry. A sponsor from your University or College is not required in this category.


The Suborbital Applications Research Group (SARG) committee members, as well as Florida Space Grant Consortium Staff, will conduct judging for both the experiment payload and essays. The entries will be assessed on merit, creativity, and feasibility.


Submissions for both categories must be electronically submitted in PDF format no later than Friday, December 3, 2010, 10 pm EST, to Brendan Gannon at For Category 1 (Experiment proposal) the proposal must be submitted by the sponsoring Faculty member. Please also indicate in the email the names of all team members (and sponsor, if Category 1) and their institutions.


Finalists for all three categories (automated payload, manned payload and essays) will be chosen by January 24, 2011. The top three teams (or individuals) in each category will be invited to present at NSRC 2011, held at the University of Central Florida in Orlando during the Student Session. All student teams who are invited to present will receive complimentary registration to attend NSRC 2011 for the day of the Student Session. (Full access discounted registration rates will be available for students.)

Category 1 (Experiment Proposal) finalists will have a maximum of ten minutes to present their proposal, followed by three minutes for questions, while finalists for Category 2 (Essay) will have an opportunity to introduce their essay and read an excerpt lasting no longer than 5 minutes during the Student Session. The winners of all three categories will be announced in advance of the Conference and will be presented with cash prizes and Certificates of Award at the Conference during the Student Session.


  • December 3, 2010 Deadline to submit instrument proposals and essays
  • January 24, 2011 Finalists of the student contest, both categories, are announced
  • February 28, 2011 NSRC 2011 begins


For more information, please contact Brendan Gannon (Florida Space Grant Consortium) at
Or visit NSRC 2011 Website | NSRC 2011 Student Competition Flyer