The Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Project: A Foray into Instrument Design, Payload Fabrication, and Project Management
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© 2017, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved. The Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Project is an educational initiative released by the NASA Science Mission Directorate that solicits university proposals to develop Earth or space science payloads to be flown on a NASA suborbital vehicle. The initiative engages undergraduate students in STEM related majors in a full-fledged, hands-on project while simultaneously developing technical and project management skills that will be necessary in their future careers in STEM related fields. The USIP group at the University of Houston is wrapping up its second round of funding, with four ambitious field campaigns now under its belt. The mission of the UH USIP is to design, build, and fly instruments onboard high altitude latex balloons to study atmospheric and auroral phenomenon near the Arctic Circle. The two campaigns that will be discussed in this paper were conducted during the second round of USIP, or what we simply call USIP-II. The two campaigns USIP-II took part in were the NASA/Dartmouth BARREL-4 campaign in Kiruna, Sweden, and the USIP-II UH campaign in Fairbanks, Alaska, which was planned and conducted by the USIP students. The instruments designed by this USIP group include a Total Electron Content(TEC) detector, a Very Low Frequency(VLF) radio receiver, a digital to analog IRIG-B Time Code encoder, an atmospheric extremophile organism collection device, a balloon-borne imaging Spectroscope, a Gaseous Compound atmospheric profiler, a UV Ozone photometer, a balloon-borne Star Tracker device, and a ground based all-sky imager for detecting atmospheric airglow.
author list (cited authors)
Greer, M. L., Bering, E. A., Talbot, R., Dunbar, B., Glennie, C., Rodrigues, D., ... Halford, A.