ARC2: SSEP Students Receive USIP Funding

In the fall of 2015, over a dozen UAF engineering and science students, working in the Space Systems Engineering Program, wrote and submitted a proposal to the NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) opportunity. On April 6, 2016, NASA announced that the UAF proposal was one of the 47 selected, receiving $200,000.

The primary mission proposed is to refine the ARC bus architecture, fly an improved Launch Environment Data Logger, and modify the COMM subsystem by creating a flexible communication infrastructure (satellite and ground) that would allow testing of variable coded modulation techniques and retro-directive antenna arrays for small satellites. Additionally, students are developing several science payloads for future missions. Some of these payloads (currently in concept phase) include developing (i) a Solar Sail deployment and drag experiment; (ii) an imager system to observe sprites in the upper atmosphere; (iii) an imager system to observe Arctic methane and black carbon.

From NASA:

NASA will award more than $8 million through the competitively selected Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) to 47 teams of undergraduate students to conduct hands-on flight research.

Through the USIP Student Flight Research Opportunity program, NASA seeks to build science, technical, leadership and project skills among undergraduate students by offering them real-world experience in developing and flying science or technology experiments that are relevant to NASA’s missions.

Eighty-nine proposals were received in response to a joint solicitation from NASA’s Office of Education, working through the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, and the agency’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington. The 47 selected projects will fly on suborbital and orbital vehicle platforms, such as CubeSats, aircraft, sounding rockets, balloons and other commercial platforms. NASA will cover launch and flight costs, and each award has a two-year period of performance. Award amounts depend on the project and range from $50,000 to $200,000.

Through USIP, NASA continues its tradition of investing in U.S. education, offering real-world experiences, with the goal of developing students’ skills and capabilities in science, technology, engineering and math – skills critical to building a robust, STEM-literate workforce and achieving the nation's exploration goals. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, in Wallops Island, Virginia, manages USIP for the agency’s Office of Education and Science Mission Directorate.