News Column

NASA Unveils Undergraduate Student Instrument Program

July 13, 2014

The Undergraduate Student Instrument Program (USIP) is an educational flight opportunity sponsored by NASA'sScience Mission Directorate (SMD) to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by providing a hands-on Earth or space science flight project experience.

NASA reported in a release that the program is sponsoring undergraduate-led, multi-disciplinary university teams to conduct, develop and fly a science payload on NASA suborbital platforms.

NASA noted that ten U.S. college and university team proposals were selected for USIP's initial year. NASA provided suborbital- class platforms, including sounding rockets, balloons, aircraft, zero-g aircraft and suborbital reusable launch vehicles at no cost to the teams.

"USIP challenges students to apply their academic skills to a real problem. The lessons they learn will help them be better prepared for today's workforce," said Marc Allen, SMD's deputy associate administrator for research at the agency's headquarters in Washington.

Scientific Balloon:

-University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia - CubeSat Cosmic Ray Dosimeter

-Utah State University, Logan, Utah, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland - Measurements of Red Line Airglow (RLAGS)

-Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. - Real-time attitude determination system for scientific balloon

Small Balloon:

-Gannon University, Erie, Pennsylvania - Cosmic Ray Calorimeter

Weather Balloon:

-University of Houston, Houston, Texas - Auroral ionosphere and stratosphere study using smartphone technology

Parabolic Aircraft Flight:

-Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin - Propellant measurement techniques

-University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida - Microgravity experiment on accretion in space environments

Sounding Rocket:

-West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia - Ionospheric response to interplanetary disturbances during magnetic storms.

Airborne Science:

-Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and A&M College, College Station, Texas - Microbial aerosol sampling

Commercial Carrier:

-Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Multi- modal, high-resolution mapping

More information:

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