Space Trek Academy

Sponsored by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium

Hosted by Atlantis Educational Services

             First Space Trek Academy                 (June 28 – July 1, 2021)

Second Space Trek Academy                     (July 12 – July 15, 2021)

Center for Space Education

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The Atlantis Educational Services will be hosting two,  Four- day academies called the Space Trek Academy at the Center for Space Education (CSE), Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC). The first Academy will be held from June 28 to July 1, 2021, and the third one from July 12-15, 2021). The Academy is sponsored wholly by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. This Academy is open to all undergraduate and graduate students students enrolled in a university or college in Florida.

In this program, 16 college students will participate as one large team, with smaller technical units to successfully launch and retrieve a weather balloon, with a payload that travels up to 100,000 feet. 

  • There is no cost to the student, except for travel to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
  • Students will be provided lodging for 3 nights (June 28, 29, and 30 for the 1st Academy, and July 12, 13 and 14 for the second academy.).
  • There is no reimbursement for travel.
  • Lunch and dinner will be provided to every participant. Participating students will also be given the opportunity to visit the KSC Visitor Complex, one afternoon. 

After the balloon launches on July 1, and July 15 , there will be an award ceremony where every participant will be provided a certificate of completion.

Students will learn about subjects such as meteorology, telemetry and how NASA takes different variables into account to perform missions, very similar to these. They will also learn about payload integration and how to plan and efficiently carry out a weather balloon launch.

The flight computer will be designed to interact with 3 PODS (portable experiment computers) that can be programmed to connect with up to 10 sensors each. 

Preparation will begin with the selection of 16 students for each program. Discussions on possible experiments, hardware & program will take place before coming to CSE, with the help of Space Trek instructors through 2 Skype Sessions. 

  • The first session will last 90 minutes and include introduction to weather balloons, identification of the experiments, bill of materials required to design and build them.
  • The second session will last 60-90 minutes, and focus on methods for building the experiments, and programming the various sensors.

Over a period of 3 days, the group will aim to integrate and launch their experiments to make observations in the upper atmosphere and throughout the flight of the weather balloon

Participants will work on independent teams with students assigned to different positions similar to those used by NASA, including Flight Director, Safety Officer, Payload Integration, Launch Operations, and Meteorology. Instructors will train students to perform their tasks and then assist in operations as the students take lead. Emphasis is on communication among various teams and to follow their roles to achieve a successful launch and recovery.

Students will develop a payload to be sent on the weather balloon conducting experiments and gather results as it ascends and descends through the atmosphere.

Flight Computer will have:

  • 1 external temperature sensor that works from -75C to 125C & Payload Temperature Sensor
  • humidity sensor, pressure sensor, barometer altitude sensor
  • 4 UV sensors
  • Gyroscope, Accelerometer & Compass Sensor
  • GPS

Pods can accept 5 I2C sensors (of the same kind or different), 4 digital and 4 analog sensors.

Participants will also learn how to test equipment, use checklists, and prepare all the components for the final launch. The main piece of hardware is the flight computer, which has the capability to record variables such as humidity, pressure, temperature, velocity, and altitude.

As the balloon travels through the atmosphere, the flight data will be constantly transmitted to our facility at KSCVC where students can watch a live feed on a map of the balloon flight. Alongside this data students can correlate the behavior of their experiment to draw possible conclusions.

Application & Selection Process:

  • The Academy is open only to students enrolled in a university or college in Florida
  • Fill out the  Space Trek Academy Form. Please remember to select the Academy dates you wish to attend (June 28 to July 1, 2021, or or July 12-15, 2021)

             Space Trek Academy Form

  • Selection will be based on the data filled in the form.
  • Skype Sessions

 First Space Trek Academy (June 28 – July 1, 2021)

                      First Skype Session: June 3rd or June 4th

                      Second Skype Session: June 17th at 5pm Eastern

Second Space Trek Academy (July 12 to 15, 2021)

                     First Skype Session: June 10th or June 11th

                    Second Skype Session: July 1st or 2nd

  • Selected participants will be notified on the details of arrival. 
  • The program at KSCVC will begin on

                                 First Academy: June 28 at 9am

                                 Second Academy: July 12 at 9am

  • Hotel accommodation will be provided for the nights of June 28, 29, and 30 for the 1st Academy and  July 12, 13 and 14 for the second academy.
  • Lunches will be provided on June 28, 29, 30 and July 1 for the 1st Academy  & July 12, 13, 14 and 15 for the second academy; dinner will be provided on June 28, 29 and 30 for the first academy, Jand July 12, 13, 14 for the second academy.

If you have any questions on the application process, please email Abhishek Agarwal (abhishek@spacetrek.com) and Andrew Gafford (agafford@spacetrek.com).