NASA launches contest for sixth to 12th-grade students

Posted on Jul 27 2021


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is inviting teams of sixth to 12th-grade students to design, build, and launch experiments on suborbital rockets and balloon flights during the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

Participants in the NASA TechRise Student Challenge will submit ideas for climate or remote-sensing experiments to fly on a high-altitude balloon, or space exploration experiments to fly aboard a suborbital rocket. 

The winning teams will each receive $1,500 to build their payloads and be awarded an assigned spot on a NASA-sponsored commercial suborbital flight. Balloon flights will offer more than four hours of flight time, while suborbital rockets will provide around three minutes of test time in microgravity conditions. 

The NASA TechRise Challenge will start accepting entries on Aug. 18, 2021.

To prepare educators for the contest, Future Engineers will host two free virtual NASA TechRise summer workshops that will dive into the basics of electronics, coding, and designing for flight, plus provide an opportunity to network with other educators. The first workshop will take place July 28 and will be repeated on Aug. 11 from 12-4 p.m. EDT. 

These interactive workshops will prepare educators with everything they will need to guide a student team, including NASA TechRise challenge details and key dates. In addition, participants will:  

• Learn about suborbital rockets and high-altitude balloons PLUS the vehicle data that will stream to NASA TechRise experiments during flight 

• Explore microgravity (zero-g) experiments and climate & remote sensing experiment ideas 

• Get hands-on with the basics of programming a microcontroller (the “guts” of running an experiment!) 

The contest aims to inspire a deeper understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, space exploration, coding, and electronics, as well as a broader understanding of the value of test data. The challenge will also provide students with the opportunity to engage with NASA and technology communities, and expose them to potential careers in science, technology, and space exploration fields. 

The Flight Opportunities program, based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, and part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, is leading the NASA TechRise Challenge, which will be administered by Future Engineers. NASA is working with three flight providers to support the competition: Blue Origin, UP Aerospace, Inc., and Raven Aerostar. (PR)

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