NASA announced new resources and funding available to students as the program will be increasing its prevalence of small satellites, and has opened new lines of research for both graduate and undergraduate students.
Last Wednesday, a crowd of students gathered in the Hartley room to enjoy pizza and drinks before embarking on an insightful space exploration lecture led by top leading experts in the field.
Jose Nunez, the former chief of flight technologies branch at Kennedy Space Center, and the current Florida Tech liaison to KSC, presented to hundreds of young space enthusiasts.
Nunez began by describing NASA’s new objective: return to the moon by 2024. After a thorough overview of the mission phases of the Artemis program, Nunez segued to the core of his speech—research opportunities.
According to Nunez, NASA selects research through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System, NSPIRES.
With this system, NASA posts requests for research proposals to which anyone can make submissions. NSPIRES also includes Research Opportunities in Earth and Space Science, ROSES, which is a broad research request for anything not specifically requested elsewhere.
Furthermore, NASA is looking to use some of the ROSES funding for the CubeSat Launch Initiative.
Through this initiative, students and research organizations can work with NASA to develop cubesats or small satellites, which will conduct astrophysical science research.
The Cubesat Launch Initiative is a much larger program for the development and launch of cubesats on current NASA rockets.
It includes the NASA 2020 small satellite technology partnership.
This program specifically requires the development teams to work directly with NASA and have access to a block of funds set aside for this project.
During his presentation, Nunez outlined the NASA internships.
“Internships have two different flavors,” Nunez said. “One is called a NIFs, a NASA internship fellowship. That is just a one-shot deal. The other is called a pathway. That is the path to become a civil servant.”
Nunez highlighted the value in looking for students that are involved in extracurriculars that boost their skill base in reliance to a career field in aerospace.
Some students, such as Ajeé Watson, attended mostly for the internship information.
“My major is aerospace engineering, and I wanted to hear about good opportunities,” Watson said.
Other students, such as Wesley Howell, attended more for project information.
“We have been in contact with Nunez for senior design,” Howell said. “We wanted to see how we could continue. There are a lot of opportunities for students.” Howell echoed Nunez. “My whole goal is to make you aware of the opportunities. What you do with them is up to you guys.”