NASA Means Business [1998-pres]
The NASA Means Business [NMB] student competition is a national program that involves a multi-disciplinary track of university students - from business majors to space science students - in exploring real-world NASA program and mission needs. Six student teams selected each spring semester embark upon a mission to develop both an "architecture" and "user requirements" for integrating NASA "Customer Engagement" processes into NASA's Mars mission planning. Selected teams receive cash awards of $1,000, travel grants to Johnson Space Center to present their work, and recognition for their contributions to NASA's Mars exploration planning effort. This program was developed through a partnership between TSGC and the NASA/JSC Exploration Office and is being administered by TSGC.
NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program [1997-01] & Community College Zero-G [2000-01]
These TSGC initiated and managed programs provided undergraduate students with a unique academic experience: propose, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment of their choice. The overall experience provided each student team with opportunities in scientific research, hands-on experimental design, test operations, educational/public outreach activities, and media coverage. Teams were joined by a faculty advisor and a journalist and obtained review briefings from NASA JSC professionals. During the five years, the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program was administered by TSGC, it continued a remarkable rate of interest and growth - from hosting four Texas-based student teams during the pilot program [SURF] to flying over 300 teams from 45 states.
Two spin-off programs resulted: Fly-High designed for Texas high school students and CC-Zero-G focusing on students enrolled in community colleges in both Texas and New Mexico. The program continues under the administration of a TSGC affiliate located in closer proximity to NASA/JSC.
MarsPort Engineering Design Student Competition
The NASA MarsPort Engineering Design Student Competition was a national program administered in association with the Kennedy Space Center that sought to provide university students with an opportunity to get involved in a "capstone" educational activity, while at the same time, making a real contribution to NASA's human exploration of Mars. Based on the strength of student proposals, up to six teams were selected to perform engineering trade studies to design optimal configurations for a MarsPort Cryogenics and Consumables Station - a vital element of the complex infrastructure needed to launch spacecraft from the Martian surface. This program was jointly developed and administered by Texas Space Grant, Florida Space Grant, and NASA/Kennedy Space Center.
Some quotes from participants in TSGC's Higher Education Programs are provided below.
This program and this type of experience has helped each of the team members understand engineering and science more than they ever did before. - Undergraduate student
Team members were able to work with and learn from students from other universities around the country and with NASA employees. Such experiences are truly rare for most college students. - Undergraduate student
Participating in the TSGC Design Challenge made me more interested in NASA. I've always thought it was cool, but it was neat to see all the different aspects - - like how it's not just astronauts and stuff. It's something I am most likely going to look into now as a career. - Undergraduate Student
It also provides incentives and opportunities to the students to develop many of the so called soft skills, e.g. skills for working in teams, skills to ensure productive group meetings, and skills to make oral and visual presentations. - Faculty Advisor
Each of the team members has enjoyed presenting to the over 2600 students and adults that have attended our outreach presentations. Watching the elementary students' eyes light up with excitement showed those students were being inspired - and that having real people and science standing in front of them made that inspiration more real. - Faculty Advisor