The Texas Space Grant Consortium [TSGC] was organized in 1989 as a team of academic, industry, state government, and non-profit institutions from all regions of the state in support of the National Space Grant College & Fellowship Program [NSGC&FP]. In the last five years TSGC has conducted twenty-four distinct programs specifically addressing the NSGC&FP objectives and priorities. In addition to the NSGC&FP funding of $2.5M for these programs, TSGC members provided additional direct and in-kind support, over $28.8M since 1998. These programs, most of which involve multiple institutions and disciplines, have involved every TSGC member institution, five NASA centers, eight formal K-12 education organizations, 5 industry/ non-profit research organizations, three extension service organizations, 34 of the 52 Space Grant Consortia, and many other organizations.
Between 1998 and 2002 TSGC's K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach program inspired grade school students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics though enabling educators to integrate the exploration of space into classroom activities. During this period TSGC has conducted eight highly successful K-12 Education / General Public Outreach Programs. These programs have directly impacted over 6,000 K-12 teachers and 500,000 K-12 students though teacher workshops, classroom activities, and other programs. Although predominantly from the state of Texas, these teachers and students represent every state of the nation and 9 other countries around the world [Australia, Austria, Canada, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Great Britain, and Venezuela]. TSGC K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach programs have been featured in over 300 newspaper articles, TV programs, radio shows, and magazine articles reaching tens of millions of people. These publications include CNN, Discovery Channel, Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time Magazine, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many others.
In recognition of TSGC's excellence in conducting K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach programs TSGC was able to obtain an additional $750,000 in funding from sources outside of the NSGC&FP. Additional support for TSGC K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach programs in the form of in-kind support increased this leveraging to over $4.4M of program activity.
Participants involved in TSGC K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach programs have conducted experiments on NASA's KC-135A Reduced Gravity Research Aircraft, met with and taught Astronauts and Congresswomen, spoken to thousands of people about their life changing experiences, written curricula that have been adopted in over 5,000 classrooms nationwide, and conducted experiments on the International Space Station.
Since 1998 TSGC has conducted eight Higher Education programs focused on enabling undergraduates of all levels to participate in real life research and design alongside NASA personnel. These programs have involved over 1,500 undergraduate students from widely varying majors [Art to Engineering to Physics to Business]. While conducting real life research and design these students worked alongside NASA personnel from the Johnson Space Center, Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Kennedy Space Center.
By focusing on these innovative programs, TSGC was able to secure significant outside funding to augment and complement its Higher Education programs. During this time TSGC was able to multiply its $385K investment in Higher Education programs to attract $1.6M of additional funding. This represents more than a three fold increase. This investment balloons to $13.8M [or 35.8 times TSGC original investment] when in-kind support and other matching are considered.
Participants involved in TSGC Higher Education Programs have conducted unique experiments on NASA's KC-135A Reduced Gravity Research Aircraft, designed components for the International Space Station, redesigned entire design curricula at their institutions, and developed business plans for the human exploration of Mars.
Between 1998 and 2002, TSGC's Research Infrastructure Development program focused on fostering the development of long-lasting partnerships between academia and industry in research that directly supports NASA's mission. During this time, TSGC conducted eight highly successful Research Infrastructure Development programs that fostered industry sponsored research at its affiliates and facilitated faculty partnerships with NASA. Long-term partnerships with the United Space Alliance, Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos National Laboratory and may other organizations were formed.
These programs used TSGC's $590K investment and more than doubled it to almost $1.3M of funded research at TSGC's affiliate institutions. Each funded program established either new academia and industry relationships or strengthened existing relationships. Several research efforts lead to successful proposals to NASA and the State of Texas for follow-on funding.
These research programs investigated important topics such as aiding the International Space Station avoid collisions with space debris, radiating unwanted heat on the transit to Mars though miniature heat pipes, detecting and eliminating contaminants in closed-loop life support systems, and developing extremely low mass and low cost sensor platforms for Mars exploration.
Overall TSGC's programs have touched the lives of hundreds of graduate students and professors, thousands of undergraduate students and K-12 educators, hundreds of thousands of K-12 students and parents, and millions of people in the general public. Though diligent use of NSGC&FP funding, TSGC has been successful in multiplying these modest investments to advance its goal of enabling the people of Texas, at all points in their lives and educational careers, to be inspired by and participate in the exploration of the great unknown of outer space.