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NASA Undergrad Program Launches Student Projects Into Space

Through a new NASA-sponsored initiative, ten teams of undergrads will get the chance to perform scientific experiments on board suborbital platforms like rockets, Zero-G aircraft, and weather balloons.

The Undergraduate Student Instrument Program is sponsored by NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and designed to promote STEM education through hands-on Earth or space science projects. Ten teams from universities across the country,  led by undergrads but also featuring faculty advisers, were selected the first year. Launches began in June and will continue through the spring of 2015.

The team from the University of Virginia, for example, will build and test a CubeSat Cosmic Ray Dosimeter--a small satellite--for launch aboard a scientific balloon. West Virginia University is testing Ionospheric response to interplanetary disturbances during magnetic storms on a sounding rocket.

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

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is a contributing editor. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.

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