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Transparent Spacer Pixle The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is a coalition of five Virginia colleges and universities, NASA, state educational agencies, Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, and other institutions representing diverse aerospace education and research.

The VSGC acts as an umbrella organization, coordinating and developing aerospace-related and high technology educational and research efforts throughout the Commonwealth and connecting Virginia's effort to a national community of shared aerospace interests.

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VSGC | News Virginia Space Grant News

News and Announcements

New University Competition Guidelines Announced

Above: The 2017 ACRP University Design Competition winners traveled to Washington, D.C. in July to receive their awards.

New guidelines are available for the 2017-2018 ACRP University Design Competition for Addressing Airport Needs. We hope that faculty will encourage university students to participate in the competition which offers open-ended, real-world challenges that cross many science, engineering and business disciplines, including computer science. This is often done as part of a capstone design course, for independent credit or as a student professional society project. VSGC manages the Competition on behalf of the Airport Cooperative Research Program of the National Transportation Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Students win cash prizes and the university receives special recognition. This year we have increased the award amounts for the first and second place teams. First place will receive $3000, second place will receive $2000, and third place will receive $1000. In addition to presenting their designs at an awards ceremony at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, first place winners will present at a fall national professional meeting relevant to their topic.

Guidelines for the 2017 - 2018 academic year competition are available here. Please share the guidelines with anyone that may be interested in participating in the program.

In addition to last year's extensive range of topics, the following new topics have been added; one in each of the four challenge areas:

  • Operation and maintenance procedures to enhance sustainability and resilience at airports.
  • Optimizing NextGen technology to improve runway safety in particular and airport safety in general.
  • Enhancing potential for resilience and sustainability of airport improvement projects in response to climate change effects or other naturally occurring catastrophic events.
  • Planning for the integration and mitigation of possible impacts of drones into the airport environment.
Please contact Sarah Pauls by email at if you have any questions or need additional information.

Virginia Students Explore Earth and Space on the Eastern Shore

A total of 121 high school sophomores from throughout Virginia have participated in the Virginia Space Coast Scholars Summer Academy offered by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and hosted at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. See attached press release here for more information.


Virginia Teacher attends LiftOff 2017 Summer Institute

The VSGC sponsored Jessica Sain's attendance at NASA's Liftoff Summer Institute for educators in Houston this summer. You can read all about it on her blog.


Cybersecurity Video Series: Breaking the Code on a Career in Cybersecurity

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium has developed a free video series, Breaking the Code on a Career in Cybersecurity. Five short videos provide background on the importance of cybersecurity in our computer and data-driven world. Practicing cyber professionals across many disciplines talk about their work and their career paths, offering tips on how to prepare for a cybersecurity career. Links to other key resources are also noted. The programs showcase the wide range of cybersecurity jobs that involve the protection of our vulnerable systems from hackers. To view the video series click here.


GeoTEd-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Faculty Institute

The GeoTEd-UAS Community College Faculty Institute will be hosted by Virginia Tech on May 21-26, 2017. Twenty community college faculty from 10 different colleges will learn how to operate small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and use them as a data collection tool. Faculty will gain hands-on experience in maintaining, flying, and safely operating sUAS. Faculty will also learn how to collect, organize, and analyze data to support decision making and problem solving. More info on the GeoTEd-UAS project here.

2017 Cybersecurity and Computer Programming Summer Camp at ODU

The ODU Cybersecurity and Computer Programming Camp is funded by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. This summer camp provides cybersecurity and programming experiences for middle school students (rising 6-8th graders). Students accepted to the camp will learn about cybersecurity and computer programming, develop an interest in cybersecurity and acquire cybersecurity knowledge and hands-on skills. Attendees will get to: Play cybersecurity games; Write computer programs using Scratch; Solve cybersecurity problems; Interact with cybersecurity experts; and Meet new friends and have fun!

For more information and to apply click here.

National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award Presented to Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson

On March 3, the National Council of Space Grant Directors presented the National Space Grant Distinguished Service award to Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, former NASA Research Mathematician, who is the central figure of the book and movie, Hidden Figures. Past recipients of this award include John Glenn, Sally Ride, Neil deGrasse Tyson, James Van Allen and Bill Nye among others.

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium worked with Katherine's family to develop two videos. The first is the presentation of the award at her residence and the second is a video of reminiscences with Katherine.


You can read a short BIOGRAPHY of Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson written by Hidden Figures Author, Margot Lee Shetterly.

Science and Technology Committee

Mary Sandy, Director, Virginia Space Grant Consortium, was invited to brief the Virginia House of Delegates Science and Technology Committee on January 30 on the Consortium and its programs. She was accompanied by University of Virginia student, Staten Longo, who is the Project Manager for the student-led, Virginia Cubesat Constellation mission and John Schumacher, Vice President of Governmental Relations for Aerojet Rocketdyne. Schumacher serves as chair of the Consortium's Steering Committee for its Small Sat Virginia Initiative.

VSGC a Partner in the Hampton Roads Cyber (HR Cyber) Project

VSGC is partnering with ODU and others on the Hampton Roads Cybersecurity Education, Workforce and Economic Development Alliance (HRCyber) project. HR Cyber is a collaborative partnership between educational institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private employers focused on developing educational pathways from high school, through community college, to four year institutions, and continual professional development, that provides a capable and fully cybersecurity workforce for the region. VSGC is coordinating several components of the project including: 5-Part Cybersecurity video series; a DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) panel for a Cybersecurity Analyst; Counselor Workshop; Cybersecurity Saturday for high school students, and internships through the CSIIP. Visit the HR Cyber website at