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AIAA-SEDS Projects and Opportunities

The UW-Madison AIAA student chapter has a rich history of involvement in rocket, microgravity and other space related projects.

NASA Microgravity University Programs

The 2012 SEED team from UW-Madison developed the Field-Integrated Regolith Cleaning Experiment (FIRCE) for Dr. Robert Trevino of NASA Johnson Space Center. The project tested commercial off the shelf (COTS) products for these effectiveness in cleaning regolith in microgravity, similar to what may be seen on future Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) missions. There are two different Microgravity projects that students can get involved in. The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Progra allows the students to develop their own experiment, potentially with the help of a PI from their university. The Systems Engineering and Educational Discovery (SEED) program pairs a student team with a PI from NASA who is interested in seeing their idea/concept turned into an experiment fit for the microgravity research. You can find more about the NASA Microgravity programs here.

WSGC and SEDS Rocket Projects

More information to come WSGC The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium (WSGC) funds a yearly high powered rocket competition for teams composed of students from around the region, with prizes awarded for first, second and third places. Teams from UW Madison have competed in past years and placed respectably. The competition parameters change with every year and are announced in the fall. A few examples of previous year’s competitions include, a two stage “dart” in an altitude competition, and a heavy lift competition. To learn more visit the WSGC site here SEDS SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) also hosts an annual high powered rocketry competition for college students.
The SEDS competition parameters include reaching 10,000 feet with competition points also awarded for extras such as flying a scientific payload, having the lightest rocket, including a camera, etc.
To learn more visit the SEDS site here

Mars Desert Research Station

The Mars Society supports a research station near Hanksville, Utah each year for a few months. During winter break of the 2011-2012 school year, six students from the chapter conducted research projects at the station. They used the on-site observatory to measure atmospheric distortion, used a new open-source image to CAD model program to map the station's surroundings and provided information to NASA about how their analog habitats compared to the MDRS habitat. You can find more about MDRS and the Mars Society here.

NASA X-Hab Innovation Challenge

Since the UW-Madison team won the first X-Hab Challenge in July of 2011, the Challenge has since changed so that each participating team now develops a different prototype and isn't in competition with any other university after their proposal is accepted. The proposal for the 2014 will be announced in April of 2013. You can find more information about X-hab here. You can also find out about the 2011 UW-Madison X-Hab team here.


There are several conferences where students can present their research/projects and create connections with like-minded students from around the country. Below is a list of conferences that AIAA-SEDS members have attended last year along with links to information about their next meeting