NASA TechRise Student Challenge Invites Schools to Advance Space Exploration


As a middle school computer science teacher, I’m always looking for ways to connect what my students are learning about programming to the real world. As a parent, I’ve championed STEM learning in my own community by forming SilverSat. I know hands-on project based learning is one of the best ways for students to learn which is why I’m excited about the new NASA TechRise Student Challenge.

This new competition invites teachers and students to join a challenge that involves designing an experiment to test on a suborbital rocket or high-altitude balloon. Through this hands-on project based challenge, student teams in 6-12th grade will gain a deeper understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, space exploration, coding, and electronics.

If selected, student teams will receive $1500 to build their experiment and have the chance to design, build, and launch experiments on suborbital rockets and high-altitude balloon flights.

NASA TechRise Student Challenge will start accepting entries on August 18th. Keep reading for additional information about the challenge.

Who is Eligible

The NASA TechRise Student Challenge will be open to student teams affiliated with U.S. public, private, and charter schools, including in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and all other U.S. territories.

How Schools Participate

To prepare educators for the contest, Future Engineers is hosting two free virtual NASA TechRise summer workshops that will dive into the basics of electronics, coding, and designing for flight, plus provide an opportunity to network with other educators.

The first workshop will take place July 28 and will be repeated August 11 from 12-4 p.m. EDT.

These interactive workshops will prepare educators with everything they will need to guide a student team, including NASA TechRise challenge details and key dates. In addition, participants will:

  • Learn about suborbital rockets and high-altitude balloons PLUS the vehicle data that will stream to NASA TechRise experiments during flight

  • Explore microgravity (zero-g) experiments and climate & remote sensing experiment ideas

  • Get hands-on with the basics of programming a microcontroller (the “guts” of running an experiment!)

To enter the NASA TechRise Student Challenge this Fall

  • Student teams, with a minimum of 4 teammates, will develop an experiment idea based on the Design Guidelines and decide whether a suborbital rocket or high-altitude balloon is best to test their project.
  • Develop a research, or technology experiment idea, no larger than 4in x 4in x 8in
  • Teams will write-up their experiment idea using the TechRise Proposal Template. The template will be released in August.
  • The team leader (an educator or adult employee of the school) will submit the proposal to this competition website. Educators/schools can submit an unlimited number of proposals, but each proposal should be unique.

What Teams Can Win 

  • $1500 awarded to each winning school to develop their idead by building their proposed experiment
  • A winner’s package that includes a 3D-printed Flight Box to house the winning experiment
  • An assigned spot for the winning experiment on a NASA-sponsored flight operated by one of the following flight providers – Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, UP Aerospace Inc.’s SpaceLoft rocket, or Raven Aerostar’s Zero Pressure high-altitude balloon

For more information, visit the NASA TechRise Student Challenge website.

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