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The Arizona Space Grant Consortium is working to spearhead a National Space Grant Student Satellite Program. Across America, Space Grant students are learning from the ground up—literally—by designing, building, flying and operating a broad range of spacecraft. Students come to our programs with an interest in Space, but with different levels of skill, knowledge, and experience. Missions of growing complexity provide opportunities to acquire baseline skills and then to build on them. They range from the simple—building soda-can “satellites” or small payloads for launch from small rockets or balloons—to building sophisticated satellites. We call this strategy “crawl”, “walk”, “run” and “fly!” Our goal is to make aerospace history and send the first student-built satellites to Mars. These programs bring together University, Industry, Military and Government Resources to Train America’s Future Scientists and Engineers. Space flight projects are an unsurpassed vehicle to engage students in exciting high-level science, engineering and technical learning. Students attest to the fact that these learning experiences—many on the leading edge of technology—provide opportunities, knowledge and skills they do not receive in the classroom.
In 1998-99, Thomas Stauffer was awarded a UA/NASA Space Grant Science Writing Internship at the Arizona Daily Star--Arizona's second largest newspaper. This experience led to the career of his dreams. Here is Tom's story: