Huseman assembled his team as though the Rice cadre was rolling out a new product. “We wanted a diverse team. Mechanical engineering would not cover everything,” he says. “The project has an electrical component. With a lot of data recording, we have a big need for statistics. We've included ground-control members, one a materials science student and the other a business major.”
The team asked for equipment donations from suppliers; members paid their own travel expenses. “It is a fantastic experience, and it's one that university teams are willing to go to great lengths to participate in,” says Prochaska. The team also developed an hour-long classroom presentation illustrating the value of science and math to middle and high school classrooms. They focused 12 classroom visits on some of Houston's underprivileged neighborhoods but also ventured to classrooms and college campuses in California, Tennessee and West Texas.
“The younger kids, those from middle school, asked a ton of questions about space. They just let loose,” says Huseman. He is now sizing up a 0g flight proposal for next year.