Teachers in Space: Stratospheric and Suborbital Flight Experiments and Equipment

PI: Elizabeth Kennick, Teachers in Space, Inc.

The goal of Teachers in Space, Inc. (TIS) is to enable teachers and their students to build and fly experiments aboard suborbital vehicles. Since 2011, Teachers in Space has been developing affordable, accessible space flight experiment equipment for use by educators and citizen scientists in schools, museums, and colleges. The equipment includes 3D-printed cubesat form factor frames, a standard set of customizable processors / data stores / remote sensors / power adaptors, and a fireproof cabinet housing 4 built experiments for flight on high altitude balloon, stratospheric glider, or suborbital spacecraft. TIS has flown this equipment on balloons since 2012 and stratospheric glider since 2016. This flight demonstration on Blue Origin will demonstrate the migration of the classroom spaceflight experiment equipment from balloons and stratospheric glider to a suborbital space vehicle.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

The Mission of Teachers in Space, Inc. is to provide real space science experiences for teachers and their students. Flying experiments aboard stratospheric balloons teaches participants that THEY can plan and manage flight paths, airspace control, communications and tracking, power supply appropriate for altitude / temperature / flight duration, all within weight / volume restrictions. Migrating those experiments to stratospheric flights aboard the Airbus Perlan II glider provides engineering exercises in comparing flight duration and profile, weight and volume restrictions, payload integration, procedure writing and change control. This is essential groundwork to the ultimate goal of flying payloads aboard space vehicles.

Technology Maturation

Adding suborbital spaceflight to the suite of flight experiment opportunities for the classroom is a crucial next step in inviting teachers and students to join the space exploration and science community. It offers real space flights (not just balloon and glider analog) at an affordable cost and regular schedule, with standard yet customizable equipment for schools to build on each other’s work and compare and learn from each other’s results.

Future Customers

Teachers and students across the United States.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-17A (Nov 2017)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

Web Accessibility and Privacy Notices Curator: Alexander van Dijk Responsible NASA Official: Stephan Ord Last Update: November 16, 2018