Science and Exploration

The PI Launchpad: Expanding The Base Of Potential Principal Investigators Across Space Sciences

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
October 11, 2022
Filed under ,
The PI Launchpad: Expanding The Base Of Potential Principal Investigators Across Space Sciences

The PI Launchpad attempts to provide an entry level explanation of the process of space mission development for new Principal Investigators (PIs).

In particular, PI launchpad has a focus on building teams, making partnerships, and science concept maturity for a space mission concept, not necessarily technical or engineering practices. Here we briefly summarize the goals of the PI Launchpad workshops and present some results from the workshops held in 2019 and 2021. The workshop attempts to describe the current process of space mission development (i.e. space-based telescopes and instrument platforms, planetary missions of all types, etc.), covering a wide range of topics that a new PI may need to successfully develop a team and write a proposal.

It is not designed to replace real experience but to provide an easily accessible resource for potential PIs who seek to learn more about what it takes to submit a space mission proposal, and what the first steps to take can be.

The PI Launchpad was created in response to the high barrier to entry for early career or any scientist who is unfamiliar with mission design. These barriers have been outlined in several recent papers and reports, and are called out in recent space science Decadal reports.

Erika Hamden, Michael H. New, D.E. (Betsy)Pugel, Michael Liemohn, Randii Wessen, Richard Quinn, Paul Propster, Kirsten Petree, Ellen M. Gertsen, Paula Evans, Nicole Cabrera Salazar

Comments: 7 Pages, 2 Figure, Accepted to Frontiers
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Space Physics (
Cite as: arXiv:2210.03769 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2210.03769v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Erika Hamden
[v1] Fri, 7 Oct 2022 18:22:06 UTC (1,981 KB)

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.