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Welcome to the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium's Website!

As one of 52 members of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, our mission is to expand opportunities for Pennsylvanians to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space programs by supporting and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, research, and outreach programs.

click here for more of Dr. Christopher House's welcome message.


Fellowship/Scholarship Opportunities at Penn State!


The Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium is opening up applications for graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship programs at Penn State University. Check out our current opportunities below!

PSGC Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium will award one-year fellowships in the amount of $5,000 per year to outstanding students that promote graduate study leading to masters or doctoral degrees in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology related to NASA research and development. All eligible graduate students are invited to apply, with award emphasis on, but not limited to, the following colleges: Earth and Mineral Sciences, Education, Engineering, Health and Human Development, Liberal Arts, Eberly College of Science, Information Sciences and Technology, and Agricultural Sciences. Applications are due January 22, 2016.

For more information, and to apply online, click HERE

PSGC Undergraduate Scholarship

The PSGC Undergraduate Scholarship is awarded to full-time students attending an accredited Pennsylvania college or university with outstanding academic records who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2016. Students must be U.S. citizens, enrolled in science, engineering, or mathematics and likely to pursue a career in an area of interest to NASA with demonstrated potential for graduate study. Applications are due January 22, 2016.

For more information, and to apply online, click HERE



Major STEM Opp (G5-16) February 2016 - Student Experiments on Int’l Space Station


Announcing: Major (G5-16) STEM Opportunity for School Districts Starting February 2016 - Student Spaceflight Experiments Program - Mission 10 to the International Space Station.

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education announce Mission 10 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-16 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station. The program nurtures ownership in learning, critical thinking, problem solving, navigation of an interdisciplinary landscape, and communication skills – all reflective of the Next Generation Science Standards, the skills needed by professional scientists and engineers, and the skills desired by 21st century employers.

Each participating community will be provided a real microgravity research mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single experiment, and all launch services to fly the experiment to the International Space Station in Fall 2016, and return is safely to Earth for student harvesting and analysis. A 9-week experiment design competition in each community, held February through April 2016, and locally engaging typically 300 students (if a pre-college focus), allows student teams to design and formally propose real experiments vying for their community's reserved mini-lab on Space Station. A formal 2-step proposal review process, mirroring professional review, will determine the community’s flight experiment. Content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education. This includes a local art and design competition for a Mission Patch to accompany the flight experiment to Station. SSEP is therefore more suitably characterized as a community-wide STEAM experience.

TIME CRITICAL: all interested communities are asked to inquire by November 13, 2015; this allows schools and districts the time they need to assess interest with their staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan. Communities must be aboard by February 15, 2016, for a 9-week experiment design and proposal writing phase from February 22 to April 22, 2016. The flight experiment will be selected by May 26, 2016. Launch of the Mission 10 to ISS “Casper” experiments payload is expected in Fall 2016.

NEXT STEP: carefully read the SSEP Home page, which provides an Executive Summary of the Program and the Mission 10 to ISS Flight Opportunity:

Of interest: SSEP was showcased in Scientific American, February 17, 2015

Contact: Dr. Jeff Goldstein, SSEP Program Director; cell 301-395-0770;


Balloons Into Eclipse


Balloons Into Eclipse On August 21, 2017, the Montana Space Grant Consortium is hosting a program called “Balloons into Eclipse”. On this date, the continental U.S. will experience its first total eclipse since 1979. Teams of students will conduct high altitude balloon flights from 9-12 locations along the path of the total eclipse, from Oregon to South Carolina. These balloons will capture live video and images of the eclipse from near space, and send them to the NASA website. In addition to the primary camera, each team will fly a secondary payload of their choice.

Project milestones:

  • 2015: fundraise, organize, participant selection, develop common payload
  • December 2015: distribute common camera/tracking payload kits
  • Summer 2016: virtual workshops to test common payloads
  • 2015 – 2017: develop secondary payloads
  • June 2017: dry run with at least one flight per location

Currently this effort is focused on college teams associated with Space Grant consortia, but has the potential for expansion should support be available.

For more information visit:




NASA Solicitation Notice


Undergraduate Student Instrument Project /2015 Student Flight Research Opportunity for Undergraduate Students

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), along with the Ofice of Education (OE) National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant), plans to release an Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) Student Flight Research Opportunity (SFRO) to solicit proposals from U.S. institutions of higher education. Funding will be available through the Office of Education and the Science Mission Directorate.

The cost cap for projects awarded through the Office of Education will be $200k. Funding from the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium will ONLY be awarded through selection by the Director, Dr. Chris House.

The cost cap for projects awarded through the Science Mission Directorate will be $100k. This funding is available to all U.S. institutions of higher education.

Key dates:

  • August 21, 2015: SFRO Release Date
  • September 10, 2015: Q&A Telecon
  • October 15, 2015: Notice of Intent Deadline
  • November 20, 2015: Proposal Submittal Deadline
  • December 2015: Selections Announced (target)
  • August 1, 2017: Launch Readiness

For more information, click here





Check out our Alumni Page!

Our Alumni Page contains profiles of students from various Universities in Pennsylvania who participated in one of many great programs through Pennsylvania/NASA Space Grant. The page can be found by visiting or by clicking the link found in the sidebar.

If you are a PA Space Grant alumni and would like to be added to this page, or if you would like to have your profile updated please contact us at

International Space Station Design Challenge: Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments

NASA and Portland State University are seeking participants for the International Space Station Research Design Challenge: Capillary Effects on Liquids Exploratory Research Experiments, or CELERE. This design challenge enables students to participate in microgravity research on capillary action, similar to that conducted on the space station.

Teams or individuals create their own experiment using computer-aided design, or CAD, with a provided template. Short experiment proposals are submitted, and test cells are manufactured by Portland State University using the CAD drawings and a computer-controlled laser cutter. Each experiment is conducted in a drop tower. Video of the drop is provided for student analysis and reporting of results.

CELERE is open to individuals and teams in grades 8-12 Teams may include younger students as long as there is at least one team member in grades 8-12 to facilitate the participation of informal science clubs, Scouts, etc. Teams may be of any size and may include an entire class or science club. The program is limited to students from the United States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and all DODEA schools for the children of U.S. military personnel (i.e., schools of the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity). Selection of at least one qualifying entry from each state and listed territory is guaranteed.

Design proposals are now being accepted. Deadlines for submissions are Feb. 1, March 1 and April 1, 2016.

For more information about this opportunity, visit

If you have questions about this opportunity, please email your inquiries to the CELERE team at

A 2015 Friedman Lecture in Astronomy | Penn State University

"Searching for Alien Megastructures: Hype vs. Reality"
Dr. Jason Wright
Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
7:30 p.m.
100 Thomas Bldg, Penn State UP


Waynick Memorial Lecture Series

Apply Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thursday, 19 November 2015, 7:30 pm
113 IST Building
Reception following in the 2nd floor atrium

Dr. Miller presents “Our Next Destination in the Human Journey Beyond Earth” as part of the Arthur H. Waynick Memorial Lecture Series. Dr. Miller will talk about humanity’s next great migration into inter-planetary space in the search for life. His talk will focus on life inhabiting the universe. Free and open to the public.

Announcement List about NASA internships for persons with disabilities

If you would like to subscribe to an announcement-only list about NASA internships for persons with disabilities, please send an E-mail to with 'subscribe' in the Subject field, OR by visiting the list page at



Five Pennsbury teachers participated in Science-based workshops at the NASTAR Center in July. Pictured are Eileen Koch, Alison Majikis, and Katie Duncan (second, third, and fourth from left); Robyn Rowlands (seventh from left); and Kristin Slota (third from right). NASTAR’s Greg Kennedy, a Pennsbury Partner, is on the far left

Pennsbury School District Newsletter


2015 Temple Summer Robotics Team

Led by Dr. John Helferty

Note from a happy parent: John Helferty is truly a blessing to the children of Philadelphia. This program is awesome!!! His personality and efforts to get youth involved in college and thinking about careers is amazing. This experience has been invaluable and will help our son as he begins to focus on his future college/ career.


PA Space Grant Sponsored Project Explodes Aboard CRS-7


SpaceX Rocket

On June 28, 2015, SpaceX launched its seventh cargo resupply mission, CRS-7, to the International Space Station. Unfortunately, the rocket experienced an abnormality and disintegrated 139 seconds into flight. Aboard CRS-7 were 25 Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) experiments. A Pennsylvania Space Grant sponsored experiment, designed by students from the Iroquois School District in Erie, PA, was among the projects lost. The goal of the experiment was to determine the effect of microgravity on the human Vestibular system, which manages balance and orientation, by using the statocyst system of sea stars as a model. SSEP Program Director Jeff Goldstein has assured that all lost student experiments will be re-flown.


Jacksonwald Lava Flow


Three undergraduate students from West Chester University – Emma Leflar, Michael Noone, and Danielle Olsen – are working with Dr. LeeAnn Srogi and Dr. Tim Lutz on a 201-million-year-old lava flow near Reading, Pennsylvania (the Jacksonwald lava flow). A few small outcrops are all that remain of flood basalts that covered the landscape of southeastern Pennsylvania as the supercontinent Pangaea was drifting apart and the modern Atlantic Ocean was being born. While there are extensive exposures of the basalts in New Jersey and Connecticut, only two lava flows remain visible in Pennsylvania – one of which is in Jacksonwald. The rocks are famous for another reason – they are folded, which is a very unusual style of deformation for rocks that formed in a rift basin. Several published studies and master’s theses have been written about the Jacksonwald syncline (as the fold is known) but the most recent description of the actual lava rocks was done by Dr. Edgar T. Wherry at the University of Pennsylvania in 1910.

The students at West Chester have documented the presence of pillow basalts, which indicate that the lava flowed into standing water. Dr. Wherry’s paper states that he found no evidence for this – so this is a brand-new finding! Scanning electron microscope with energy-dispersive x-ray analysis are being used to provide chemical analyses of the mineral phenocrysts, any glass that remains, and the minerals filling the gas bubbles (vesicles) in the lava flow. These data will be used to compare the lava with the underlying intrusive rocks that formed the “plumbing system” of the rift volcanoes, and to better understand the composition of hydrothermal fluids circulating through the rocks. The group will submit an abstract this summer for the students to present at the annual national meeting of the Geological Society of America in Baltimore, MD in November, 2015.

Lava research group on the rocks in the snow, 1 Feb 2015, L to R: Danielle Olsen, LeeAnn Srogi, Emma Leflar, Michael Noone

Emma Leflar measuring the orientation of a tilted basalt column

Our pillow basalts; pillows outlined in pink chalk; Emma’s hand with scale

Photomicrograph of basalt lava near the bottom of the flow, viewed with crossed polars, width of field about 2 mm, photo by Danielle Olsen

Photomicrograph of minerals that filled in a gas bubble near the top of the flow, viewed with crossed polars, width of field about 4 mm, photo by Danielle Olsen


Alex Wilkinson, senior at Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School made a visit to NASTAR on April 20th to meet Greg Kennedy, Director of Educational Programs and Ben Filippini.



Temple Robotics on the move!

Here's the challenge: Build a robotic mouse that can quickly find its own way out of a never-before-seen maze. A trio of Temple University engineering students has won an award for designing such a robot.

"What the robot does, is it has a few sensors on it that allow it to autonomously navigate a maze, and then map that maze to solve it in the fastest time possible," said junior James Novino, a member of the team that competed last weekend at this year's Robotics Olympiad at Brown University.

Along with fellow electrical engineering student Abby Sydnes, Norvino focused on the coding and algorithm design. Junior Jake Holohan took the lead on the mechanical side.

"Based on how the algorithm is written, and based on the shortest distance as it maps the maze, it will determine which direction [the robot] should go," explained Sydnes, who is a sophomore.

While the robot didn't win the timed race, Novino said that 3D printing allowed them to quickly test prototypes, and the team's presentation of their process won them the excellence in design award.

"We went through the iterations of our design, showed that we used 3D modeling software, showed some of the calculations and some of the different algorithms we had started working on and then ruled them out," he said.

The students' advisor, John Helferty, is proud of the success.

"You're going up against Ivy-league schools and to win a design competition, I thought was phenomenal," he said. "They put in the hours, they put in the time, and this was the ultimate payoff for it."

Next year, the same group will compete again, and they aim to bring back more awards.

More Info:


World View Balloon Lofts Gannon University’s payload entitled the Cosmic Ray Calorimeter (GU-CRC) as part of NASA Experiments to Near-Space Heights

Gannon University’s high-altitude ballooning payload was flown on March 12, 2015 to observe characteristics of cosmic rays in near space.

Internal View of the GU-CRC
Internal View of the GU-CRC

For more news coverage, see below:,2817,2478169,00.asp?kc=PCRSS03069TX1K0001121

Blue ArrowSpotlight Archives

:: Website updated: 04/19/2015