Saturday, July 12, 2008

MicrospaceNews: NASA considers new student satellite program

NASA Considers Development of Student-Led Satellite Initiative
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA is considering the development of a university-based, student-led satellite development initiative to begin passing the space exploration torch to a new generation.
The American Student Moon Orbiter, or ASMO, concept invites students, faculty and industry leaders in the U.S. with experience in university-based, student-led spaceflight projects to respond to a Request for Information which is planned for release this month and will remain open for at least 90 days. The orbiter will be a small satellite that could orbit the moon and carry scientific instruments designed and developed by students. It is aligned with NASA's lunar exploration agenda. Under the ASMO concept, teams would learn directly from NASA mentors as part of a diverse, nationwide, higher education initiative that enables students to design, build, launch, operate and own a small spacecraft and its payload. Students would acquire in-depth experience with satellite mission protocol and procedures, communications and project management. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California and NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland are leading the ASMO initiative.
"NASA is laying the foundation for a multi-generation exploration program that eventually will see humans settle our solar system," said Ames Center Director S. Pete Worden. "To sustain this vision, we need the next crop of scientists and engineers to engage their minds and get hands-on experience."

COMMENT: Anything that re-engages American students in space exploration while developing hands-on expertise is a very good idea. It will be downright criminal if the agency doesn't follow through. Go AMSO!

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