Defense Media Network

NASA and Academia

(continued) NASA has used Space Grant resources for a number of strategic programs and goals, including:

  • NASA Academy Programs – primary funding source for student participants at four NASA Centers – Ames, Glenn, Goddard, and Marshall
  • Building network/state infrastructure to compete for federal funds:


– USRP (Undergraduate Student Research Program)

– LARSS ( Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars)

– VASTS (Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars)

– K-12 Competitive Grants

– SoI Capacity Building Grants

  • Collaboration with NASA centers and mission directorates to create regional and discipline-specific communities:

– Four Mission Directorate Working Groups

– Five Regional Space Grant Consortia

– Student internship programs at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center

  • Student-led Flight Projects:

– RockOn sounding rocket workshops

– RockSat hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing, and conducting experiments

– High Altitude Student Platform (HASP)

– CubeSat – launching small student satellites

– Reduced Gravity – teacher/student projects to propose, design, build, test, and fly microgravity experiments aboard NASA’s Zero G aircraft

– SPHERES-ISS National Laboratory – miniature Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites designed to fly inside the International Space Station

Overall in recent years, Space Grant has provided thousands of undergraduate and graduate students direct support through scholarships, fellowships, internships and real-world hands-on research and engineering challenges and tens of thousands of educators with learning activities and support materials. It also targets elementary and secondary schools through informal education, Web-based, instructional and enrichment activities, reaching hundreds of thousands of pre-college students each year.

Students at the 2010 Summer of Innovation see a full-scale model of the rover Curiosity. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Students at the 2010 Summer of Innovation see a full-scale model of the rover Curiosity. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Research and analysis (R&A) offices throughout NASA’s 10 centers and four mission directorates are a major component in the agency’s relationship with academia, making awards to universities for specific research valuable to the space agency. R&A grants typically go to individual professors, who then can attach graduate students as team members on their proposals.

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J.R. Wilson has been a full-time freelance writer, focusing primarily on aerospace, defense and high...