In 1989 NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program, giving rise to The Florida Space Grant Consortium, or NASA FSGC.
The FSGC is a voluntary statewide network of seventeen public and private Florida Universities (led by the University of Central Florida), all of Florida’s community colleges, and various other organizations such as Space Florida and the Astronaut Memorial Foundation.
Their goal is to support the expansion and diversification of the state’s space industry – promoting statewide aerospace economic and academic development by providing grants, scholarships, internships, and various programs to students and educators to collaborate on hands-on space projects.
Fellowships for graduate students enrolled for a Master’s or Ph.D program, higher education programs for undergraduate students wanting to become actively involved in ongoing research, various public outreach programs, pre-college activities designed to garner the interest of young
people, and research programs are just some of the numerous types of educational assistance the FSGC has to offer.
Several student-led payloads and experiments – sponsored by the FSGC – have actually flown in space, most recently onboard Space Shuttle Endeavour during the orbiter’s last mission STS-134 in the spring of 2011. One of those experiments, named Apples in Space, was designed by students from Crystal Lake Middle School in Broward County. The goal of their experiment was to compare the growth of a planted apple seed germinated in space to that of one germinated here on earth.
Another student-led experiment, sponsored again by the FSGC, which flew on that same mission with shuttle Endeavour was the ‘Squids In Space’ project – a unified effort composed of Florida colleges and high school students led by University of Florida PhD research scientist Jamie Foster to study the effects of microgravity on squid embryos.
The NASA FSGC recently produced a short video to highlight the wide range of programs and assistance that it offers, and most of the people in this short video about the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium have benefitted from the NASA FSGC’s efforts.
FSGC is a NASA sponsored program administered by the University of Central Florida through the Florida Space Institute at the Kennedy Space Center.
For more information on the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium – including their latest news, programs offered, and contact information – please visit their website at www.floridaspacegrant.org, or call them at (321) 452-4301.