Arizona Space Grant Mentors: $10M elevates UArizona hypersonics facilities to national prominence

University of Arizona aerospace and mechanical engineering researchers have received $3.5 million in funding from the state of Arizona’s investment in the New Economy Initiative and $6.5 million in federal support through the Department of Defense’s Test Resource Management Center to upgrade hypersonic facilities and related research infrastructure.

The funding positions the university as a leading educational institution in the hypersonics field, said Alex Craig, an assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

“We’re moving our wind tunnel complex into a more capable realm that you typically don’t see at universities, because it’s usually reserved for government facilities like NASA,” Craig said. “With these upgrades, we’ll be able to provide impactful ground testing services to DOD and its contractors, NASA, and emerging private ventures supporting space and commercial travel, while still fulfilling our educational mission.”

Wind tunnels blast air at high speeds past fixed objects, helping researchers better understand how similarly shaped objects, such as aircraft and missiles, behave in flight. Wind tunnel speed is represented by Mach number, with Mach 1 being equal to the speed of sound – about 761 mph at sea level.

UArizona is home to two hypersonic facilities and additional wind tunnels that permit testing from Mach 0 to Mach 5.


Read the full article online here.


Image Credit: University of Arizona



The ISS gets an extension to 2030 to wrap up unfinished business

Last week, NASA announced that the Biden-Harris Administration intends to extend International Space Station (ISS) operations through 2030, extending the US’s previous funding deadline by a few years.

“As more and more nations are active in space, it’s more important than ever that the United States continues to lead the world in growing international alliances and modeling rules and norms for the peaceful and responsible use of space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a NASA statement Friday.

Read the full article here.

What’s next for NASA’s newly launched James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s next big space observatory is finally aloft, but it’ll be a while before it starts its highly anticipated science mission.

The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana yesterday (Dec. 25), kicking off a long-delayed, potentially transformative mission to study the early universe, nearby exoplanets and more. Telescope team members (and the rest of us) will have to remain patient, however, for Webb has a lot of work to do before it gets up and running.


Read the full article here.


Image Credit: NASA

North Dakota Space Grant Connects Students to STEM Research through Fellowship Bridge Program

That’s the Big Dipper. That’s the Little Dipper. And not so long ago, that’s about as deep as Lake Region State College graduate Liz Deckert wanted to dip into space science.

But that was before the kinesiology major and future chiropractor transferred this fall to the University of North Dakota, where she landed a NASA-funded Bridge Fellowship through the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium.

Now, just a few months into her junior year at UND, the space rookie from Devils Lake is doing cutting-edge research for NASA’s next-generation spacesuit.

More specifically, she’s testing upper mobility acceleration and range of motion for a spacesuit developed by Final Frontier Design, a company that already has three spacesuit components — boot, hip and waist joints — booked for the next trip to the moon. And though experts have questioned whether the mission will be ready for a 2025 launch, when it eventually does blast off, Artemis 3 is expected to be the first “crewed” lunar landing in more than half a century. The last one was Apollo 17 in 1972.


Read both UND Today articles on the NDSGC Bridge Fellowship program’s latest awardee, student Liz Deckert:



Image credit: Mike Hess/UND Today

Maybe Don’t Blow Up Satellites in Space

The astronauts were still asleep when NASA called the International Space Station. “Hey, Mark, good morning. Sorry for the early call,” a mission controller said in the early hours of Monday morning, speaking with Mark Vande Hei, one of four NASA astronauts on board. But the astronauts needed to get up, mission control said calmly, and move to the spacecraft docked to the station. They needed to be prepared to potentially escape and head back to Earth. This was an emergency.

NASA had just received word that a satellite had shattered into pieces. The cloud of debris was about to pass dangerously close to the space station, and everyone on board—four American astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, and one German astronaut—had to hunker down.


Read the full article from the Atlantic here.


Image Credit: MIT News

Texas Space Grant Sponsors Student Aisha Williams with SEES Internship

In case you missed it!

Vicksburg High School student Aisha Williams has been selected for the prestigious STEM Enhancement in Earth and Space Science (SEES)  summer internship to be held at The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research.  Students will work with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research from data received  from NASA’s Earth observing satellites as well as designing Mars habitats, Lunar Exploration, and robotics. This nationally competitive program sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant  Consortium selects students who will increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through Earth and space education.

SEES is a collaborative effort of Texas Space Grant Consortium members and affiliates, NASA, and The University of Texas at Austin. Students apply for SEES and are selected competitively.  The internships are organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs. The program combines the strengths of  collaborators to enrich teaching and learning of STEM.


Image Credit: VWSD

NEWS Crew-3 Astronauts Welcomed Aboard the International Space Station

NASA’s Crew-3 astronauts arrived at the International Space Station Thursday night, marking SpaceX’s fifth crewed spaceflight since May 2020. Crew-3′s arrival was part of an indirect takeover, where the outgoing Crew-2 astronauts were not able to welcome the new astronauts to the station.

After safely docking the Crew Dragon capsule, Crew-3 was welcomed by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

Read the full article here.

Image Credit: SpaceX

JWST launch preparations on track

DUBAI, U.A.E. — The success of the most recent Ariane 5 launch has allowed preparations for the launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to move into the home stretch, officials said Oct. 27.

During a panel discussion at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, representatives of NASA, the European Space Agency, Arianespace and other expressed confidence that the long-delayed giant space telescope will finally launch on Dec. 18.

Read the full article here.


Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn

Montana Space Grant Supports Students with NASA Internships in High Altitude Ballooning

BOZEMAN — Thanks to the Montana Space Grant Consortium, Montana State University students can take part in NASA internships without leaving the state, and this summer, senior Sam Riebling became the first technology education student to join the cohort.

Riebling, originally from Colorado, hadn’t intended to pursue the BOREALIS internship, but after taking courses from Montana Space Grant Consortium flight director Mike Walach, she found herself drawn to the program, which is open to all majors. While most interns come from the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, Reibling became one of the first from MSU’s College of Agriculture and the very first from the Department of Agricultural and Technology Education.


Read the full article here.


Image credit: MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

NASA Lucy to Launch TODAY!

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is set to embark on its 12-year tour, traveling almost four billion miles, to visit eight asteroids near Jupiter during its mission to reveal the Solar System’s origins.

The 14-meter probe is due to launch on Saturday 16 October at 0934 (UTC) atop Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The $981m mission is the first of its kind; no asteroid mission has ever ventured beyond the large asteroid belt, a region containing millions of space rocks between Mars and Jupiter.

Lucy will flyby a Main Belt object and then go on to study seven Trojans, asteroids that share the same orbit as Jupiter by its interaction with the Sun’s gravity. These are remnants of the Solar System’s early materials and may include a surprise moon.

Read the full article here.


📸: Lockheed Martin & Southwest Research Institute