Category Archives: Education

ArduSat Academy Summer Program 2013

An announcement from Nanosatisfi:

ArduSat Academy Launches 4 Week Space Experience

NanoSatisfi, LLC is pleased to announce that registration is now open for ArduSat Academy Summer Program 2013. Ardusat Academy is an opportunity for students, hackers, makers, DIY space enthusiasts, and anyone interested in space, science, or programming to learn how to devise and prepare their own satellite-based experiment. Building on the ArduSat initiative to make space accessible to all, ArduSat Academy gives participants the tools they need to best make use of that opportunity.

“In just four weeks, anyone can design and program their own space-based experiment or experience,” says ArduSat Academy Program Director Merryl Azriel. “This isn’t just a project to keep you busy through yet another summer: this is the real deal, with a real satellite.”
Participants will discover the nuts and bolts of satellite operations, explore the capabilities of ArduSat’s sensor suite, learn to program and assemble Arduinos, and design and test a program to execute their experiments in orbit. This summer, participants will also be able to witness the July launch of ArduSat-1 and meet with the engineers that made it all happen.
The four week program will run June 24 through July 19, with morning, afternoon, and weekend sessions available. $2000 will get you in the program, which will be held in the San Francisco metropolitan area. No prior experience is necessary. All ages 13 years and above are welcome.

For more details about ArduSat Academy Summer Program 2013 and to register, visit us at

About NanoSatisfi, LLC
San Francisco-based NanoSatisfi formed in the summer of 2012, with a mission of providing convenient, affordable, on-demand access to satellites. NanoSatisfi’s founders together combine experience at 9 universities, in 8 companies, in 7 languages, and on 3 continents. NanoSatisfi prides itself on being free from the old mindset of “space costs millions and take years,” and is devoted to making space accessible and affordable for everyone. The company’s first two satellites were crowdfunded via a Kickstarter campaign. The results of that campaign – a space-based application platform comprised of an AVR/Arduino based computer in a CubeSat standard with a freely programmable micro-processor and 25 sensors – will launch with NanoRacks in the summer of 2013. Learn more at

Two new “Citizen-astronaut” candidates announced

An announcement from Citizens in Space:

New Citizen Astronaut Candidates Announced
Two from Texas will fly as payload operators on XCOR Lynx spaceplane

(Space Center Houston, Feb. 8, 2010) – Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, announced two astronaut candidates at the Space Exploration Educators Conference, which took place here today.

Citizen-astronaut candidate Maureen Adams, who has been in training for three years, announced the new additions.

“As a citizen of Texas, I take special pride in making this announcement,” Adams said. “Today we are expanding our astronaut corps to four, as Michael Johnson and Edward Wright, both from Texas, join our training program.”

Michael Johnson is a founding member and executive director of the North American Aerotech Academy, a non-profit organization that provides aviation-based STEM education to schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including four-year aviation academies at Irving High School and DeSoto High School. Johnson is a single- and multi-engine commercial pilot, instrument ground instructor, and type-rated captain on the Cessna Citation jet aircraft.

Johnson also provides STEM-based afterschool programs and summer camps, most recently teaching the Hot Roc STEM camp at Cedar Valley College in Lancaster, Texas that included a on-site mission-control room and the construction and launch of over 300 rockets. He is currently pursuing an Executive MBA degree at the University of Texas at Dallas and serves in the Texas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol as a Aerospace Officer with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.

Edward Wright is the chairman of the United States Rocket Academy and project manager for Citizens in Space. He brings almost 30 years of experience in the computer, aviation, and space industries. In the past, he developed the first Space Enterprise Symposium and founded X-Rocket, LLC.

“This is an important step in the development of our program,” said Lt. Col. Steve Heck (USAF-ret.), training director for Citizens in Space and another citizen-astronaut candidate. “Citizens in Space has purchased 10 flights on the XCOR Lynx spaceplane, which is expected to enter operational service in 2014. We will be flying over 100 citizen-science experiments and training 10 citizen astronauts to fly as payload operators.

“The individuals named today provide the right mix of skills to help us develop our training program, which will ensure that our current and future astronauts are able to fly safely and perform effectively as payload operators.

As a veteran military aviator and future astronaut, I am well aware of the risks involved in this sort of undertaking and the tragedies that can occur when things go wrong. The United States Rocket Academy is dedicated to providing the highest standard of training to minimize those risks.”

“Spaceflight is an inherently risky activity,” Wright said. “Safety is an ethical matter. I have seen too many friends die in aircraft accidents. I did not feel that I could ask people to participate in this program and accept the risks unless I was willing to do so myself.”

“Citizen astronauts will fly as payload operators, not just space tourists,” Johnson said. “This means that a higher standard of training is necessary.”

Adams, Heck, Johnson, and Wright are pathfinders for a larger training program. The “first four” will participate in training activities at several locations this summer. Training will expand next year as Citizens in Space seeks to fill out all ten astronaut slots.

Rocket Science Tutors and DC-X on The Space Show

Nino Pollizzi was interviewed on the Space Show yesterday and talked about the Rocket Science Tutors volunteer education program, which I posted about here recently: Nino Pollizzi, Sunday, 2-3-13 – Thespaceshow’s Blog.

Pollizzi also talked about one of the original NewSpace projects, the DC-X reusable rocket, which he worked on.

In our second segment of this 1 hour 42 minute program, we talked about the DC-X as Nino worked on that program when he was with McDonnell Douglas.  DC-X is having their 20th reunion this August in New Mexico, an event which Nino talked about during our discussion.  We also talked about the DC-X vehicle, its problems, the plans to scale up the demo to the two more advanced models, and ultimately its cancellation and the NASA selection of the X-33.  Nino also took some questions about the possibility of a single stage to orbit vehicle with a useful payload.

More DC-X resources can be found here. And here is a video about the DC-X


Teachers in Space invites applications for Flight Experiment Summer Workshop

Joe Latrell of Photos-To-Space sends me this announcement:

2013 Summer Flight Experiment Workshop Applications Opened
Teachers in Space Announces Opening for
Flight Experiment Summer Workshop Applications

The Space Frontier Foundation’s Teachers in Space (TIS) project today announced that teacher’s applications are now being accepted for its free Flight Experiment summer workshop.

Teachers in Space is a project to inspire student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging teachers with authentic astronaut training and real space science experiences combined with information and resources they bring into classrooms across America.

The workshop is offered for high school teachers of math, science and technology.

The Flight Experiment workshop offers hands-on, repeatable experience with suborbital and orbital experiment design and launch processes. Participants will build, launch, track, retrieve, and analyze captured data from weather balloon experiments which can be recreated within a typical classroom budget. Teachers will learn about commercial spaceflight, suborbital and glider and balloon flight, meteorology, basic glider controls, basic instrumentation, control surfaces, and simple premade instruments that will be flying with teachers in gliders and on weather balloons. They will also learn about pressure change, accelerometers, and dosimeters. The experience will culminate with teachers practicing what was learned during the week as they launch their own weather balloons.

Leading the workshop are James Kuhl, 6th Grade Earth Science Teacher from Syracuse, NY and finalist in the 2004 NASA Educator Astronaut program; Rachael Manzer, district science coach in the Suffield, Connecticut School District and former NASA distance learning educator; and Robert “Mike” Schmidt, a second-generation teacher and high school math teacher at University High School in Tucson, AZ.

The workshop will be held at the Aero Institute in Palmdale, CA on July 15-21, 2013. A tour of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center will also be available.

If you are a teacher of science, technology, engineering, or math at the high school level we encourage you to apply. Space is limited; only 30 seats are available. The deadline for workshop applications is April 1, 2013.  The workshop is free of charge. Subsidized housing will be available at a cost of $25 per night (shared rooms). Meals are not provided, but a limited number of stipends will be available to help defray the cost of meals and transportation. The maximum size of a stipend is $400. If you require a stipend, you are urged to apply early.

U.S. Highschool STEM (Science Technology Engineering or Math) teachers may apply at

Titan & Europa essay contest – Grades 5-12

Here’s a message from the  Titan and Icy Worlds  Education and Public Outreach Teams at NASA JPL:

Dear Teachers and Students,

NASA is holding an essay contest about Saturn’s moon Titan & Jupiter’s moon Europa for students in the United States in grades 5-12.

.The contest deadline is February 28, 2013.  The contest website is here:

Questions about the Titan & Europa essay contest can be sent to:

The topic of the Titan & Europa essay is either a mission to Saturn’s moon Titan or to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Both of these missions would study a world that is exciting for astrobiologists(*).Your assignment is to decide which of the proposed missions would be more interesting to you, and why. Be creative, be original, and ask good questions that you hope the mission would answer.

The Titan mission would include a Titan orbiter and a Titan balloon. The Europa mission would include a Europa orbiter and a Europa lander. The orbiters, balloon, and lander would each have science instruments to study either Titan or Europa.

In your essay, you can include information about what science instruments you would put on the orbiter and balloon or lander, if you wish, based on what you hope to find on Titan or Europa.

Winning essays will be posted on a NASA website, and winners and their classes will be invited to participate in a videoconference or teleconference with NASA scientists.

Contest videos about Astrobiology, Titan, and Europa can be found here:

(*) Astrobiologists are scientists who study the origins, evolution, future and distribution of life in the universe. The main question astrobiologists are trying to answer is: “Is there life beyond Earth?”

Good luck!

Best wishes,
The Titan and Icy Worlds NASA Astrobiology Institute Education and Public Outreach Teams