NASA and University of Houston’s Approach in Engaging and Developing Undergraduate Students’ Skills Through Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Project
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© 2018, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved. The Undergraduate Student Instrumentation Project (USIP) 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 mission of the UH USIP is to design, build, and fly instruments onboard high altitude latex balloons to study atmospheric and auroral phenomenon on Texas and near the Arctic Circle. UH USIP has engaged in five successful campaigns since its inception in 2014, with three campaigns conducted during the second iteration of the project starting in 2016. This paper will discuss the campaigns completed during the second iteration: the 2016 NASA/Dartmouth BARREL-4 campaign in Kiruna, Sweden; and the 2017 and 2018 USIP-II UH campaigns in Fairbanks, Alaska. 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)
Gunawan, B., Greer, M. L., Bering, E. A., Gamblin, R., Porat, I., Lehnen, J., ... Nowling, M.