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NASA Awards Planning Grants to Universities to Support Space Technology Opportunities

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 22, 2020
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An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Space Technology Artemis Research, or M-STAR, has awarded cooperative agreements to 15 universities for 16 projects that will support NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s advancement of technologies needed for the agency’s Artemis program.

Nearly $604,000 will be distributed to these institutions over the course of a four-month period of performance.

The recipient institutions, and their proposed projects, are:

Fayetteville State University (FSU), Fayetteville, North Carolina
Planning for Increasing Research and Education in Advanced Systems (PIREAS)
For this project, FSU will create an Advanced Systems Group (ASG), which will be tasked with strengthening the university’s capabilities to apply for NASA grant opportunities.

North Carolina Central University, Durham
MUREP Space Technology Artemis Research Planning Initiative
This initiative will convene working sessions with NASA and external academic and industrial partners to sharpen the focus of current collaborative research and education activities.

Texas A & M University – Kingsville (TAMUK)
Planning for an Advanced Extra-Planetary Remote Sensing Center
TAMUK will organize a collaborative center to implement an innovative vertical integration of research and education to create pathways of minority students from high school to graduate school and beyond.

Virginia State University (VSU), Ettrick
Structural and Material Validation of Additive-Manufactured Aluminum and Steel Alloys
VSU will develop and strengthen the research capacity and infrastructure of its programs, faculty and students by integrating CubeSat and SmallSat design, construction, testing and analysis into coursework and extra-curricular activities.

The University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff (UAPB)
Laying the Foundation for Minority Undergraduate NASA Research
For this project, UAPB will identify strategies to engage a full spectrum of stakeholders in NASA CubeSat activities to inform and educate the Pine Bluff community, and engage UAPB students and faculty in NASA research and curriculum activities.

The University of Central Florida, Orlando
Mapping a Trajectory for STEM Readiness in Space Technology
This project will facilitate a suite of scientific and educational efforts that actively engage faculty and students, along with administrators and appropriate partners, while ensuring diversity and inclusion.

California State University – Northridge
Enabling Artemis and STMD (NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate) Mission with Autonomy-Based Convergence Research and Literacy
California State University – Northridge will develop an action plan consisting of convergence research, an opportunity response team, and a STEAHM (Science, Technology+engineering, Entrepreneurship+business, Arts, Humanities and Mathematics)+Autonomy Literacy Framework.

Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana
Finding Research and Engineering Education Solutions (FREES)
Delgado Community College will develop an undergraduate research project, disseminate information about existing opportunities to faculty, increase student recruitment and retention, and plan a freshman science enrichment curriculum.

Navajo Technical University, Crownpoint, New Mexico
Micro-Gravity Additive Manufacturing of Metals
This project will strengthen the education and research capacity of Navajo Technical University faculty and students in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate priorities, with a special focus on in-space manufacturing.

The University of Arizona, Tuscon
Planning Grant for Accelerating Success and Opportunities through NASA STMD – ASTEROID Center Collaboration
For this project, The University of Arizona will extend the newly emerging capabilities of the ASTEROID Center to respond to NASA research opportunities.

Florida International University, Miami
Florida International University – Artemis Collaborative Exploration (FIU-ACE)
The goal of this project is to promote space technology opportunities at FIU in an effort to engage talented students and faculty in research programs with NASA, and increase the capacity of FIU to develop student knowledge and skills in aerospace-related research.

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
MUREP Advancing Regolith-Related Technologies and Education (MARRTE)
NMSU will collaborate with San Diego State University for research and education initiatives in alignment with the inclusion of minorities in STEM.

California State Polytechnic University – Pomona
Reconfigurable Low-Power Flight Software Design and Implementation for Aerospace Applications Using Overlay Architectures (RECOLP-FS)
This project seeks to engage students in the area of CubeSat flight-software controllers from both hardware and software perspectives.

Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana
Increasing Space Technology Research Capacity at Salish Kootenai College through MILO Space Science Institute Collaboration and NASA STMD Opportunities
Salish Kootenai College will increase its capacity for using an advanced manufacturing innovation lab and explore collaborations with members of the MILO Institute formed by Arizona State University and Lockheed Martin.

Florida A & M University (FAMU), Tallahassee
FAMU received cooperative agreements for the following two projects:

Securing Talent for Artemis Research and Technology (START)
START will provide a basis for FAMU and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering to align with and fully exploit changes in focus to increase participation in space research and technology development, including providing new opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and faculty engagement.

Integrative Space Additive Manufacturing (In-Space AM): Opportunities for Workforce-Development in NASA Related Materials Research and Education
This project will establish a collaboration with NASA to strengthen the research infrastructure of FAMU, while also playing a large role in preparing the next generation workforce of minority students.


NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project supports the training and development of students and faculty at minority-serving institutions in STEM fields by providing opportunities for research and education that inspires and prepares minority students for STEM careers.

An integral part of this mission, M-STAR was established to strengthen and develop the research capacity and infrastructure of minority-serving institutions in areas of strategic importance and value to NASA’s mission and national priorities.

For more information about MUREP, please click here.

About STMD

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is responsible for developing the new cross-cutting technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

For more information about STMD, please click here.​

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