Status Report

Launch High or Dig Deep! $5,000 Grants available for 2012 NASA University Challenges

By SpaceRef Editor
May 26, 2011
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Launch High or Dig Deep! $5,000 Grants available for 2012 NASA University Challenges

The NASA Minority Innovation Challenges Institute, or MICI, is offering minority serving institutions the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to assist their schools in entering the 2012 University Student Launch Initiative or the 2012 NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition. The deadline for grant applications for both competitions has been extended to June 30, 2011.

USLI is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers. It culminates in an actual launch competition in April 2012 near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Lunabotics is a university-level competition that challenges students to design and build a remotely controlled or autonomous excavator called a lunabot. The lunabot must collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of lunar simulant within 15 minutes. The challenge culminates in an actual excavation competition in May 2012 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Those interested in this grant opportunity should visit to download the grant application. Instructions on how to view recorded video sessions concerning the grant application are also available at this site.

Additional video conference sessions concerning USLI and Lunabotics will be held during May and June. A presentation from the Fisk University team which participated in the 2011 USLI competition will be held on May 31, 2011, at 3p.m. EDT. Fisk is an HBCU institution located in Nashville, Tenn.

Please email any questions about the grant opportunity and informational videoconferences to Mary Baker at

SpaceRef staff editor.