Florida Space Grant Consortium

State-wide Ballooning Program and Scholarships for Community Colleges and 4 year College students

The NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium in partnership with Spaceloon is offering a state-wide weather ballooning project for students (US Citizens only and 18 years or older) who are enrolled in any of the State of Florida’s Community Colleges and/or 4-yr Colleges.  Selected students will also be offered a scholarship of $1500. In this program, teams of 5 students will work together to successfully launch a weather balloon and collect live data from the payload that travels up to 100,000 feet. 

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

Preparation will begin with the selection of 25 students that will divided into 5-6 teams. We will try and select students from the same institution for each team. However, depending on the students selected, some teams may have students from a number of colleges. In that case, we will group students from colleges located near each other. Discussions on possible experiments, hardware & program will take place through a number of virtual and live Sessions. The exact date and times will be determined later.

  • The first virtual session for all participants will last 3 hours and include introduction to weather balloons and guidance on developing scientific ideas to test on a weather balloon. We will also finalize the teams for the program. Exact timing and dates of future sessions will be finalized.
  • The second virtual session (dates to be determined later) will be a one-to-one interaction with each team for feasibility assessment of your scientific experiment. We will also discuss the list of materials required to design and build your experiment.
  • We intend to hold 1 live session per team, at your college location, to focus on methods for building the experiments, scientific data acquisition, programming various sensors, etc. 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.

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
    • Camera sensor
  • Pods can accept 5 I2C sensors (of the same kind or different), 4 digital and 4 analog sensors.
  • Your payloads will be launched from various locations across the state, depending on the colleges participating in the program. More information will be provided later. The flight data from student’s payload will be sent to the SpaceLoon™s deployable mobile tracker antenna receiver system so that it can be shared with others.

Once selected, you will be provided with a link to a technical website on weather ballooning.

All selected students will receive a scholarship of $1500. The scholarship duration is for 1 semester starting from the Spring semester of 2022. Only US citizens (18 years or older) enrolled in a 2-year Community College or 4-year College in Florida and studying in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM)-related discipline are eligible for this scholarship. Please see eligibility requirements below. Students should have the intention to matriculate into a 4-year degree program at an FSGC Affiliate institution or any other program in the US, or enter the world of work in a STEM position. The goal of the scholarship program will be to train and recruit Florida science/engineering students (US citizens only) into the aerospace & aviation workforce as future employees, while encouraging further study and academic achievement.

Interested students should submit a completed application package to FSGC that includes a personal objective statement discussing educational and career goals, and the benefits derived from a Space Grant scholarship, 1 letter of recommendation, Applications are to be submitted to the FSGC.

Application and Program structure – Deadline December 15, 2021

Students will submit their application online at http://ucf.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_87Fch2WAoqyiLJA by December 15, 2021 and will include the following (details in the link above):


  • Studies Interest
    200 word essay on how your career goals might align with the activities of the space related industry and/or NASA. Address how do you plan to achieve these goals?
  • Understanding of NASA’s work and mission
    Identify which NASA Mission Directorate may align best with your current academic/vocational interests. Describe how your interests are related to a NASA project, or research program. This is the most important part of your application, make sure to elaborate on how your interests may fit with NASA’s needs. Do your homework; learn about NASA’s Mission Directorates and Field Centers. (200 words or less)
  • Relevant experience and awards
    Describe any relevant work, military, or co-op experience, awards, and/or honors. (200 words or less)

Contact information for faculty/advisor/chair reference or recommendation. Please inform your advisor that he/she will get an email from FSGC requesting a letter of reference.

Student’s contact and education information

Post graduation plans / professional school / graduate school / aerospace related employment

Scholarship Information

The stipends will be paid directly to the students by FSGC through a third party, Education Program Student Services. Scholars will be paid a total of $1500, in two stages. 50% of the stipend will be paid to the student within 14 days of the scholarship start date, provided the students have submitted the paperwork provided to them after the notice of their selection. Selected students will be given sufficient time to complete their paperwork. The rest 50% will be paid after the submission of the post-launch report that will include the analysis of the data obtained from the launch.

Eligibility requirements for community college students are:

  • Scholars must be US citizens. (Permanent residents are not eligible)
  • Scholars must be 18 years or older
  • At least half-time enrollment
  • Current high school and dual-credit students are not eligible to apply.

Reporting Requirements

  • FSGC College Scholars are required to submit a one-page written summary on how your ideas of careers with NASA and space industry have changed after their scholarship period.
  • One-page technical summary on your experience with the ballooning project.

FSGC reserves the right to require additional information / reports / waivers as may be required to comply with funding agency requirements at any time during the scholarship and within 1 year from the scholarship end date.


  • November 10 – Request for student scholars released
  • December 15 – Closing date for student applications
  • December 22 – Student / interns informed
  • January 3, 2022  -Program commences
  • January 21, 2022 – 1st payment to interns (50% of stipend on submission of student tracking forms, signed scholarship agreement form and waiver forms)
  • First Virtual session for all participants – 3rd or 4th week of January
  • Second virtual session for each team – Date and time to be determined later
  • Third Live session for each team at their respective college – Date and time to be determined later.
  • Launch (Date, time, and location to be determined later). We intend to hold launches as close to your college as possible. Participants will have to drive to the launch location at their own cost.
  • April 30, 2022 – Scholars paid their final 50% upon completion of the balloon launch and submission of the 2 reports
  • April 30 – Scholarship ends

For questions on the scholarships or the ballooning program,  please contact FSGC Director, Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee (jaydeep.mukherjee@ucf.edu)