The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program is an interactive on-line science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning experience highlighted by a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, Va. Students selected to participate in the program are immersed in NASA-related research through interaction with scientists, engineers and technologists.
Students from across the state of Virginia are selected to participate through a competitive application process. In order to participate students must:
● Be a U.S. Citizen and Virginia resident
● Be currently in their junior or senior year of high school and at least 16 years of age
● Have interest in or an aptitude for math, science, engineering, or technology
● Have a minimum GPA of 2.7 (Students who wish to register for the optional college credit will require a GPA of 3.0)
● Have access to email and the Internet (home, school, or public library)
*Permanent residents may apply for the course; however, NASA security restrictions typically preclude non-citizen participation in the summer academies.
During the school year, scholars will complete seven web-based modules. The modules begin in late November and are due every two weeks (more time may be given for the first two modules due to how holiday dates fall on the calendar each year). Based upon the content of each module, Scholars will provide solutions to real-world questions and design upgrades to be used on the International Space Station (ISS), Design a new Crew Exploration Vehicle, and participate in discussion forums on current space-related topics with other Scholars to hone their technical writing skills. Upon successful completion of the on-line course, scholars who perform well in the course may be selected to attend a week-long Summer Academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. which will include:
● A team project in which students design a human mission to Mars
● Tours of NASA Langley facilities
● Mentoring by NASA engineers, scientists, and technologists
● Participation in hands-on scientific and engineering activities
● Briefings and seminars by astronauts, engineers, scientists and other NASA experts
Scholars who are selected for the week-long academy at NASA Langley Research Center are provided transportation, housing, and meals during their stay.
Complete the requirements located on the Application Instructions page. The application deadline is October 24, 2023 at 11:55PM. If your application is accepted for the program, you will be notified via email in early November and provided with log-in information to begin working on the online curriculum. Each of the seven modules and final project will be graded using the rubrics at the end of each lesson. Scholars are selected for the Summer Academy based on timely completion of all assignments, quality of work, participation in online discussions, and their final grade in the course.
August – September: Virginia schools receive information describing the program and guidelines
September – October: Interested students complete online application
October 24, 2023 at 11:55PM: Application deadline
Early November, 2023: Students notified by email of their acceptance to the program and information on the distance learning course
November 27, 2023 – April 2024: Students engage in distance learning assignments and on-line discussions to learn more about space exploration, NASA LaRC mentors, and the other participants
May 2024: Students are selected for the summer program based on completion of lessons, quality of work, and timeliness
On-site Summer Academy sessions at NASA Langley Research Center in 2024:
● June 22-28
● July 13-19
● July 27-August 2