Gannon University Participates in NASA Program
Posted: August 13, 2014
Gannon University students involved in NASA's USIP program:
(l-r) Matt Buehrle, Brandon Lawrence, Aaron Neiman (project
manager), Joe Bennett (engineering team lead), Leslie Moukoro, Jenn
Hu (science team lead)
Gannon University is one of 10 universities in the United States
that was accepted into NASA's inaugural Undergraduate Student
Instrument Program (USIP). This program is geared toward developing
the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields
at the undergraduate level by forming multi-disciplinary teams to
plan, build and fly a science payload on suborbital platforms
provided by NASA.
A group of about eight students from Gannon's engineering, math,
nursing and pre-medical programs have designed and are constructing
a balloon-borne cosmic ray detector used to measure cosmic ray
helium and proton nuclei, and the ratio of the two as a function of
energy. This project was funded through a NASA grant of almost
$50,000, and is being overseen by Nicholas Conklin, Ph.D.,
assistant professor of physics, Wookwon Lee, Ph.D., associate
professor, electrical and computer engineering, and physics
instructor Perry Hilburn, M.S.M.E.
After spending the past year constructing the project, from
creating and wiring circuit boards to building the payload's
support structure, the Gannon students in the Scientific Ballooning
Program submitted their proposal to NASA and were one of just 10 student groups selected to continue their research under the
funding of NASA's USIP.
After spending the past year constructing the project, including
designing circuit boards to building the payload's support
structure, the Gannon students in the Scientific Ballooning Program
are on track to finish the Cosmic-Ray Calorimeter in time to launch
their payload during the Spring 2015 Semester in Tillamook, Oregon.
Once launched on the Near Space Corporation's Small Balloon System,
the detector is estimated to reach an altitude of about 120,000 ft.
and flight duration of approximately six hours.