Success Stories

National Space Grant Student Satellite Program

National Space Grant Student Satellite Program

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.

Space Grant Internships Leads to Science Writing Dream Job and a Lot of Fun

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:

The NASA Space Grant internship in science writing helped prove to me once and for all that time is not constant. Under the mentorship of Jim Erickson, I wrote more than 80 science stories for the Arizona Daily Star and quickly realized that writing about science was what I really wanted to do. When my internship ended, the Star offered me a part-time job as a police reporter, which expanded to full-time when I graduated in May of 2000. Fast forward to January 2001: Jim has moved on to the Rocky Mountain News, the Star needs a science reporter, and on the basis of my Space Grant experience, I get the job! (Exclamation points are frowned on in the newspaper business but I had to make an exception back there.) Less than two years after my internship began, here I am writing about the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft landing on Asteroid 433 Eros, realizing that as corny as it sounds, time really does fly when you're having fun.