Space Grant -- About the Program

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NASA initiated the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, also known as Space Grant, in 1989. Space Grant is a national network of colleges and universities. These institutions are working to expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in NASA's aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts. The Space Grant national network includes over 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers, and state and local agencies. These affiliates belong to one of 52 consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The 52 consortia fund fellowships and scholarships for students pursuing careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, or STEM, as well as curriculum enhancement and faculty development. Member colleges and universities also administer pre-college and public service education projects in their states.

› View Space Grant Consortium Web sites by state
› View Space Grant Directors by state

About the Program

Program Goal

Contribute to the nation's science enterprise by funding education, research and public engagement projects through a national network of university-based Space Grant consortia.



  • Establish and maintain a national network of universities.
  • Encourage cooperative programs among universities; aerospace industry; and Federal, state and local governments.
  • Encourage interdisciplinary education, research and public service programs related to aerospace.
  • Recruit and train U.S. citizens, especially women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  • Promote a strong science, mathematics and technology education base from elementary through secondary levels.

Graphic showing overlapping squares. The graphic contains three titles with lists: NASA Priorities; Space Grant Programs; and State Priorities, Needs & Goals

Agency Leverage

NASA has used Space Grant resources strategically in a number of ways:


  • Summer of Innovation -- Used by the agency to implement the 2010 pilot (4,700 students and 436 educators engaged); 2011 National Awardees partnered with Space Grant (Indiana, Texas and Nebraska Space Grant consortiainvolved); mini-grant 2011 and 2012 awards facilitated by the Space Grant Foundation.
  • NASA Explorer Schools -- provides mentoring and professional development for students and educators, assistance with sustainability plans, and mentoring and involvement in family and outreach activities.
  • Aerospace Education Service Project, or AESP -- mini-grant project to deliver curriculum toolkits.
  • Interdisciplinary National Science Program Incorporating Research and Education Experiences, or INSPIRE -- Tier 2A component: two-week on-campus, residential experience for rising 11th grade students.
  • Ralph Steckler Bequest -- Space Grant network utilized to meet the intent of the bequest to NASA (Human Space Colonization).
  • NASA 50th Anniversary Future Forums -- Partnered with NASA to provide support for special events and activities.
  • Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE -- Space Grant hosted the first GLOBE workshops and helped lead statewide implementation of US Partners.
  • Linking Leaders -- Space Grant Directors took a leadership role to convene and facilitate interactions between state-based STEM stakeholders and state-based NASA assets.
  • Disseminates information on NASA and the Office of Education by using national list-serve.
  • Implementing partner for state-based mission directorate initiatives:
    • SMD International Year of Astronomy and Space Science Student Ambassadors Programs
    • SMD Internships (Pilot Effort 2011)
    • ESMD Space Grant Innovative Projects
    • ESMD Senior Design Course Development
    • ESMD Faculty Workshop and Fellowship
    • ESMD Systems Engineering Education Initiative
    • ESMD eXploration Habitat, or X-HAB, Academic Innovation Challenge
  • NASA Academy Programs -- Primary funding source for student participants (NASA's Ames Research Center, Glenn Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Marshall Space Flight Center)
  • Builds network/state infrastructure to compete for federal funds -- EPSCoR, USRP, LARSS, VASTS, K-12 Competitive Grants, SoI Capacity Building Grants
  • Collaborates with NASA centers and mission directorates to create regional and discipline-specific communities:
    • Four Mission Directorate Working Groups
    • Five Regional Space Grant Consortia
    • Student Internship Programs (NASA's Johnson Space Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Marshall Space Flight Center)
  • Student-led Flight Projects -- RockOn; RockSat; High Altitude Student Platform, or HASP; CubeSat; Reduced Gravity; and SPHERES - ISS National Laboratory.
Page Last Updated: January 24th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator