Space Trek Academy


Space Trek Academy

March 12-14, 2018

Center for Space Education

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The Atlantis Educational Services will be hosting a 3 day academy called the Space Trek Academy at the Center for Space Education (CSE), Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) from March 12-14, 2018. The Academy is sponsored wholly by the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. This Academy is open to all undergraduate students enrolled in a FSGC affiliated university or college (

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 2 nights (March 12th and March 13). There is no reimbursement for travel. Lunch and dinner will be provided to every participant. Selected students will get a chance to have lunch with an astronaut and will also be given the opportunity to visit the KSC Visitor Complex, one afternoon. 

After the balloon launch on March 14, 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 the 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 an FSGC affiliated university
  • Fill out the Space Trek Academy Form using an Adobe Reader  to apply for the program. Please note that you first need to download the form, save it on your hard disk and then complete and submit the form. Please use the submit button at the top right hand corner of the application page to submit the form. If you have any problems submitting it, please save the file and email it to
  • Submission Deadline for the form is March 2, 2018.
  • Selection will be based on the data filled in the form. Selected students will be notified by Mar 4, 2018.
  • Skype Sessions will take place on March 8 at 2:00pm and March 10, 2018 at 11:00am.
  • The program at KSCVC will begin on March 12, 2018 at 9am. Selected participants will be notified on the details of arrival.
  • Hotel accommodation will be provided for the night of March 12 and 13.
  • Lunches will be provided on March 12, 13 and 14; dinner will be provided on March 12 and 13.


If you have any questions on the application process, please email Abhishek Agarwal (

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